Citizens see US soldier holding gun along roadside in Kunigami

Citizens see US soldier holding gun along roadside in Kunigami

US soldier pointing a gun while facing down on roadside.

March 23, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

Pedestrians witnessed a US soldier pointing a gun during training near the roadside around landing zone 4 in Aha, Kunigami village around 5:30 p.m. on March 20. The road leads to the village’s environmental education center, “Yanbaru Manabi no Mori,” and the soldier was aiming along the driveway that leads to prefectural road 2. The soldier was lying face-down on the roadside. According to Kunigami village, the road was built when Aha dam was constructed. The road is not a village road, and it has not been confirmed whether the road belongs to the property or the military.

Co-representative of the Takae Helipad Construction Protest Association, Masahiko Nakandakari, said, “It felt as if I was passing through training. It was frightening.” Nakandakari questioned the use of a public area for military training.

The village is notified by Okinawa Defense Bureau about the military’s training plans one week before every training, but it is not informed about the specific locations of training.

The village has received inquiries from residents about sounds of gunshots around the LZ 4 district. The bureau responded to the village, “The training is non-life fire, and they use blank shot.””

(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma)

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