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SECURITY > Okinawa

U.S. military dismisses Japan’s call for indefinite suspension of CH-53 operations

  • October 14, 2017
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Saturday morning papers highlighted Defense Minister Onodera’s press remarks on Friday in which he said that flight operations by Okinawa-based CH-53 helicopters should be suspended indefinitely until the cause of the recent incident is determined and safety is confirmed. According to Mainichi, a USFJ spokesperson said although the U.S. military has acknowledged Minister Onodera’s request, it has not agreed to suspend the operations indefinitely. Noting that Okinawa Area Coordinator Nicholson has already ordered a 96-hour suspension, the daily said GOJ and LDP officials are worried that if CH-53 flights are resumed after the four-day suspension, the issue will have adverse effects on the election prospects for LDP candidates in the island prefecture. 


Today’s Mainichi and Tokyo Shimbun wrote that some 200 people gathered near the impact site yesterday to protest the incident and call for the closure of the helipads in the Northern Training Area. The papers added that local officials and residents will react strongly if the 96-hour flight suspension is lifted this morning as scheduled. 


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