Kawasaki Ward plans to publish recollections of U.S. military jet crash

Kawasaki Ward plans to publish recollections of U.S. military jet crash

On December 5, 2011 at Kawasaki Community Hall in Uruma City, Kawasaki Ward Mayor Choshin Kokuba said, “We should not let the memory of this accident just fade away.”

December 6, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

Fifty years have passed since December 7, 1961 when a U.S. military jet crashed in Kawasaki, Gushikawa (currently Uruma City). Despite the crash killing two people, injuring at least six others and burning down three houses, the accident was not covered by media to the same extent as the 1959 crash on the Miyamori Elementary School. To create a proper record of what happened and to convey the story to the next generation, Kawasaki Ward is planning to publish written records of local people’s recollections of the accident.

A Kadena-based U.S. Air Force F-100D crashed on the house of Bunkichi Miyagi. In addition to Miyagi, Kame Kamiunten, who was visiting Miyagi’s family from Ishikawa City, was also killed. Burning parts of the jet scattered throughout the area, inflicting burns on residents including children.

Because local people have avoided talking about the tragedy many of the residents of Kawasaki don’t really know about the details. Although holding a 33rd anniversary memorial service for the victims was suggested in the past, it did not happen because bereaved family members said that while they appreciate the kind thoughts they don’t want to recall the tragedy. Few official documents on the tragedy remain.

For the 50th anniversary of the tragedy, plans for a memorial ceremony and written record were again proposed, and an editorial committee was formed on December 1. In the New Year, the committee will start interviewing and gathering photographs. They expect to publish the written record and hold a memorial ceremony sometime between December 2012 and March 2013.

Kawasaki Ward Mayor, Choshin Kokuba, said, “People who remember the past tragedy are still frightened when they see a jet plane fly overhead. It is one important page of Kawasaki history so we should not just let the memory of this accident just fade away.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Megumi Chibana and Mark Ealey)

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