Ikei citizens to protest this month after U.S. Military helicopter makes emergency landing

Ikei citizens to protest this month after U.S. Military helicopter makes emergency landing

The UH-1 Helicopter after making an emergency landing on a beach on Ikei Island – January 6 (Photograph taken by drone)


January 7, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo


(Uruma, Ikei Island) A UH-1 U.S. military helicopter from MCAS Futenma made an emergency landing on a beach on the eastern side of Ikei Island in Uruma at around 4:00 p.m. on January 6. According to Okinawan police and the Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB), no one was injured including the four passengers, and the helicopter had no visible damage.

In January of last year, there was also a helicopter from MCAS Futenma that made an emergency landing on Ikei, when an AH-1 attack helicopter landed on a farm road.

This past December, there were two incidents involving parts from a helicopter landing on a nursery school and an elementary school in Ginowan.

The Ikei city council held an emergency meeting on the evening of January 6, and made a plan to hold a rally in January protesting the frequent incidents caused by the U.S. military.


The helicopter landed only 100 meters from houses.

About 13 km. to the southwest is Naval Base White Beach, and a petroleum station is about 5 km. away from the site of the landing.


According to Uruma’s Central Fire Department, who first reported the emergency landing, the helicopter had just finished training exercises at the Ukibaru Island Training Ground.

According to the ODB, the helicopter landed on Ikei Island after a warning light came on.

The military explained that the helicopter made a “preventative landing,” in order to prevent an accident, and plans to come retrieve the vehicle as early as January 7.


On January 6, U.S. military personnel performed a safety inspection, and the Japanese Coast Guard installed an oil fence to prevent fuel from leaking into the water.

According to Okinawa Base Policy Division chief Norikazu Kinjo, a munitions check was not done.


The Okinawan Prefectural government received word from the ODB at 5:30 p.m. Then, just after 7:00, Lieutenant General Lawrence Nicholson, commanding general of U.S. forces in Okinawa, informed Okinawan Deputy Governor Moritake Tomikawa that, “The helicopter made an emergency landing after an abnormal reading from one of the instruments.”

That evening, Governor Takeshi Onaga made known his misgivings at a press conference in Naha, saying that “It’s a ridiculous story.”

The prefectural government will call senior officials from both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ (MOFA) Okinawan office and the ODB to protest at the beginning of the week.


Masanori Tamagusuku, 61, president of the Ikei city council, said indignantly, “This is the current reality of Okinawa. The U.S. military does whatever it wants. If the federal Japanese government does not assert their independence when working with the U.S. military, it will eventually be the people of Okinawa who suffer.”


(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)


Go to Japanese


Previous Article:
Next Article:

[Similar Articles]