US force ignores “Iejima aggregation” conducting training without warning

US force ignores “Iejima aggregation” conducting training without warning

Soldiers and supply drop one after another around the Tsuken Island training area.(Photograph taken by Yasuhide Matayoshi)

January 13, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

The U.S. air force conducted parachute drop training over the Tsuken Island training area in Uruma City around 11:00 a.m. on January 12. The training was done without any notification being given to Okinawa Prefecture or the city. Soldiers as well as supplies were dropped. There were some fishing ships sailing around the same area. The prefecture and Uruma City Have demanded training be conducted in the ocean only around Ie Island area based off the report by the Specian Action Committee on Okinawa, so called SACO, yet the request was once again ignored. On January 11, the U.S.FederalAviationAdministration(FAA) announced multiple trainings will be held in the U.S. Kadena Air Force Base on January 17. However, the notification was deleted on January 12. This marks the eighth training conducted offshore of Tsuken Island since the SACO agreemend was made. The previous training was done in August of 2015.

Seven parachutes were dropped from US Air Force MC130 special operation task force at 11:07 a.m. Six out of the seven items were soldiers, and two parachutes were attached to the last item. The soldiers got on a boat to sail around the area for about three and half hours before they landed on White Beach. Black materials were considered to be the boat that the soldiers used.

It is mandatory for the U.S. military to notify the Okinawa Defense Bureau about training around the area in advance. We asked the US Marine Corps and Navy about the reason for not notifying the prefecture as well as the reason for the training around Tsuken Island, however no answer was given by January 12.
However, the U.S.FAA posted on its website, “The U.S. military will conduct multiple drop trainings in Kadena Air Base from 3000 meters above the base. There will be a restriction on the two runways in Kadena Air Base from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. due to the drop training.” However, the post has been deleted as of January 12, 7:00 p.m. local time.

The local communities have urged the Defense Bureau to provide the details of the training yet received the answer, “no details available.”

(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma) 

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