F-15 crash arouses concern among residents about dangers of living near Kadena Air Base

F-15 crash arouses concern among residents about dangers of living near Kadena Air Base

At 6:22 a.m. on June 11 an F-15 takes off from Kadena Air Base (photograph provided by Tomoki Yasutomi)


June 12, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo


In the early morning on June 11, a U.S. F-15 fighter aircraft from Kadena Air Base crashed in the ocean to the south of Okinawa Island.


Residents living in the vicinity of the base have been reminded again of the danger to which they are neighbors.


Those living their usual daily lives below heard a resounding roar from the U.S. military aircraft overhead, which aroused their fear of repeating aircraft accidents.


The somber mood left in the wake of the accident hung heavy in the areas surrounding the base.


Nearby residents are saying things such as, “They are dangerous after all,” and “What if one comes down in a residential district?”


Watching a television program covering the accident, a 69-year-old woman living in Yara, Kadena Town said, “Because they’re always flying I come to think that it’s okay, but I was reminded that they are dangerous after all.”

She remembers an accident from her very early childhood when a U.S. military aerial tanker crashed in Yara.

With a grimace, she said that at the time of the crash, “There was a sound like a bomb detonating; I didn’t know where the U.S. military craft had fallen.” She mentioned, “Each time an accident occurs I get worried.”

At around 6:00 a.m. on June 11, an 84-year-old woman who lives in Minami-ku, Kadena Town heard an F-15 taking off from Kadena Air Base.

Furrowing her brow, the woman said, “I dread to think what would happen if that came down in Naha.

” She mentioned, “It was frightening at times when [North Korea] carried out nuclear tests because I wondered, ‘When will Kadena Air Base become the target?'”

With an uneasy countenance she continued: “The poor children. When I look at my grandchildren’s faces, I wonder, ‘When these children grow up will the world be a peaceful place without war and bases?'”

Fifty-two-year-old Yushin Teruya who lives in Sunabe, Chatan Town, said, “There is risk every day where we live, so unfortunately, we have actually gotten used to it.

” She emphasized, “I realize that as accidents occur, our sense of danger becomes duller. For the sake of the children we cannot grow accustomed to this.”

U.S. military aircraft fly over Chibana, Okinawa City every day.

Head of the Chibana Neighborhood Council, 57-year-old Tsuyoshi Ura, expressed that although he is relieved that there have not been casualties, he is concerned about what will happen if an aircraft comes down in a residential district.

He heard about the accident in the news.

With a sigh he said, “It would be good if the Neighborhood Council was also informed, but we were not contacted.”


(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)


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