20-pound US helicopter window falls off mid-flight, injuring child in Okinawa
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the Tuesday incident was “unacceptable” and urged US forces to minimize their impact on local residents.
“US forces repeatedly cause these accidents, but they are not listening to our voices at all,” Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga said. “We have lodged protests many times, but the business goes on regardless what we say. The Okinawa people’s feeling towards American forces can hardly be described as good neighbors.”
US service members have been accused of assaulting and raping Okinawans. Last month, a US Marine was accused of killing a local man in a drunk-driving accident. An indefinite alcohol ban among US servicemen was subsequently imposed, but has since been lifted.
Onaga has been a strong opponent of plans to move Futenma, which is located in a densely populated part of the island, since his election in 2014. He stymied plans to relocate Futenma to a more remote area, as he wants base taken off the island altogether.
He is expected to visit Tokyo Thursday and his office has lodged a formal complaint and requested that US forces halt flight operations until the cause of Tuesday’s accident is determined.
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