American helicopter window falls on Japanese school sports ground

by Abel Hampton December 14, 2017, 1:10
American helicopter window falls on Japanese school sports ground

An American military helicopter's window has fallen onto the sports field of a primary school on the Japanese island of Okinawa, infuriating the locals about the heavy U.S. presence.

Right now, Okinawa authorities and police are looking into the details of the incident, which came just a few days after a piece of a USA military aircraft reportedly fell out of the sky and landed in the middle of Ginowan City. The chopper was based at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

The incident was likely to inflame further sentiment against the USA military bases at Okinawa, which locals have been pushing for some 20 years to have deactivated.

The accident is the second such incident in two weeks, as part of another US military helicopter fell onto a nearby Japanese kindergarten last week.

The object, measuring 1 meter square, fell onto the school grounds around 10:15 a spot about 5 meters from where students were taking a physical education class. Safety concerns were recently rekindled by a series of accidents involving U.S. Marines Osprey aircraft and another CH-53E helicopter that belong to the Futenma base.

Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion
CC BY 2.0 Paul VanDerWerf Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion

"I was so surprised that I trembled", said Erina Nakama, a 54-year-old principal of a nursery school about 100 meters away.

A window fell out of a United States helicopter and landed in a school sports ground in southern Japan in an incident likely to fuel tensions between military and residents.

The U.S. Marine Corps has admitted the object was part of a CH-53 helicopter but denied that it fell off during flight.

Takehiro Kamiya, the nursery school's principal, said Tuesday, "I don't want the prefectural and central governments to accept without question what the USA military says".

The Futenma base is central to an ongoing feud between the central government of Japan and local Okinawan government officials and citizens about its planned relocation to a coastal area within Okinawa.

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