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SECURITY > Okinawa

Governor Onaga asks DM Inada to remove Ospreys from Okinawa

  • December 15, 2016
  • , The Asahi Shimbun , 6:00 p.m.
  • English Press

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga asked Defense Minister Tomomi Inada in Tokyo on Dec. 15 to put pressure on the U.S. military to withdraw all Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft from Okinawa Prefecture.

 

Onaga, angry and frustrated over the Dec. 13 crash-landing of an Osprey off Nago in Okinawa Prefecture, wanted to relay Okinawa people’s safety concerns about the aircraft directly to high-ranking officials of the central government.

 

More than half of an area in northern Okinawa Prefecture used for training by the U.S. military is scheduled to be returned to Japan on Dec. 22. The training area spans the villages of Kunigami and Higashi.

 

In exchange for the return of the land, six helipads not only for helicopters but also Ospreys have been built in areas around the Takae district of Higashi.

“People in my prefecture think this is unreasonable and unfair,” Onaga has said.

 

Kenji Wakamiya, vice defense minister, visited the Okinawa prefectural government and apologized for the Osprey accident to Vice Okinawa Governor Mitsuo Ageda.

 

“(The crash) has caused much anxiety and worries among Okinawa people,” Wakamiya said.

 

Ageda, who protested the accident in the meeting, took Wakamiya’s comment further, saying, “The anxiety and anger of people in Okinawa have reached their peak.”

 

The wreckage of the Osprey remained at the site as of the morning on Dec. 15.

 

Citizens in several canoes held an anti-base protest off Nago. Japan Coast Guard officers instructed them not to approach the site of the accident.

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