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SECURITY > Okinawa

Gov’t, ruling camp fear chopper accidents’ impact on mayoral race in Okinawa

  • January 10, 2018
  • , Jiji Press , 10:12 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Jan. 10 (Jiji Press) — The Japanese government and ruling camp are concerned that the recent successive crash-landing of U.S. military helicopters in Okinawa Prefecture may impact the upcoming mayoral election in Nago in the southernmost prefecture.

 
A helicopter from the Marine Corps’ Futenma air station in Ginowan crash-landed on Ikeijima, an island in the city of Uruma, on Saturday and another chopper belonging to the same base did so in the village of Yomitan on Monday.

No residents were injured but the accidents have fueled anger among locals, who were already outraged by serious incidents caused by the U.S. forces in the prefecture, including one in which a flying helicopter dropped a window onto the playground of a school adjacent to the Futenma base in December.

Relevant cabinet ministers are doing all they can to calm the situation.

In telephone talks Tuesday, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera urged his U.S. counterpart, James Mattis, to take drastic preventative measures, citing the spate of accidents in Okinawa involving U.S. warplanes since September last year.

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