Osprey still causing apprehension 13 years after university campus helicopter crash in Ginowan

Osprey still causing apprehension 13 years after university campus helicopter crash in Ginowan

On August 13 in front of the Okinawa International University monument where a U.S. helicopter crashed on the campus in 2004, the university hosted its gathering, and president of the university Eiken Maetsu (second from the left) read a statement aloud.


August 14, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

 

August 13 marked thirteen years since the U.S. military helicopter crash on Okinawa International University’s campus in Ginowan City.

The university held a gathering to demand the closure of Futenma Air Station and to transmit the value of peace.

President of the university Eiken Maetsu made a request to the U.S. and Japanese governments for the closure and removal of Futenma Air Station.

The Osprey from Futenma cause crashes one after another, in turn raising Okinawans’ apprehension of U.S. aircraft accidents.

Maetsu said of the successive crashes: “I am reminded of the tragedy thirteen years ago.

With aircraft flying overhead in Okinawa the danger will only grow.”

“Won’t there just be another crash?” was one of the concerns voiced by the attending Ginowan City residents, burdened by Futenma Air Station.

The gathering started at 2:00 p.m., close to the time that the accident occurred in 2004, and around 140 people attended, including university students and staff.

Recent examples of Osprey from Futenma Air Station crashing are the accident in the shallows in Abu, Nago City in December last year, and the accident off the east coast of Australia earlier this month.

Maetsu said: “Even with the exception [of Osprey] other aircraft frequently cause accidents. It is common knowledge that the root of the danger is the presence of the U.S. military bases.”

Okinawa International University senior year student, 22-year-old Minoru Oshiro, said, “The helicopter accident instilled residents in the surrounding areas with dread and anger.

We should not dismiss it as a thing of the past.” He added, “As one of those who are responsible for the future of Okinawa, I would like to make it known that the people of Ginowan live in an unpalatable situation.”

 

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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