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SECURITY > Okinawa

SDF mechanics to be sent to Okinawa to verify U.S. military aircraft maintenance

  • January 30, 2018
  • , Asahi, Mainichi evening edition
  • JMH Summary

Tuesday evening’s Mainichi took up press remarks earlier in the day by Defense Minister Onodera who disclosed that he has instructed the SDF to dispatch mechanics to Okinawa to verify the aircraft maintenance performed by the U.S. military in connection with the two unscheduled landings made by Futenma-based AH-1 helicopters earlier this month. Arrangements are reportedly being made for SDF personnel familiar with the aircraft to verify the status of maintenance of the two helicopters. 

 

In a related development, this morning’s Asahi highlighted yesterday’s debate in the Lower House Budget Committee, in which opposition lawmakers pressed the GOJ to conduct a review of the SOFA so as to allow the Japanese side to conduct its own probes into incidents and mishaps involving U.S. military aircraft. They also demanded that the U.S. military no longer be exempt from the nation’s Aviation Law. Prime Minister Abe, Defense Minister Onodera, and other cabinet ministers all responded cautiously to these calls, simply saying that the GOJ will firmly ask the U.S. military to ensure flight safety. Foreign Minister Kono was quoted as saying: “We would like to address specific issues one by one so that we can respond effectively and swiftly within the current SOFA framework.”   

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