Canister believed to be from a US helicopter lands on a nursery school in Ginowan

Canister believed to be from a US helicopter lands on a nursery school in Ginowan

The plastic canister on the roof of the nursery school. December 7, 2017 (Photograph by Hajime Kanai)

December 8, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo


A plastic canister landed on the metal roof of the Futenma Baptist Church’s Midorigaoka Nursery School in Nodake, Ginowan, around 10:20 a.m. on December 7.

No people were injured. Right around the time of the dropped tube, a U.S. military CH-53 heavy-lift transport helicopter was flying overhead, and investigators have indicated that, “the characteristics of the dropped object as well as the circumstances suggest a high probability that it came from a U.S. military vehicle.”

The Ginowan Police department are continuing to investigate the cause of the dropped object.

When asked for comment, a representative for the U.S. Marines responded, “We are carefully investigating the matter.”


According to a witness, at around 10:15 a.m. a CH-53 was seen taking off from MCAS Futenma in the direction of Nodake.

The plastic canister dropped from a U.S. helicopter


Nursery School Principal Takeshi Kamiya said that there were around 60 children in the school around the time of the drop.

The children were playing outside, having just finished practicing for the Christmas play when the canister landed on the metal roof of the one-year-old’s class.

Had the canister landed a few feet from where it did, it would have been right in the playground.


According to Ginowan Police, the canister is around 9.5 cm long, a diameter of around 7.5 cm, 8 mm thick, weighing around 213 grams. The message “Remove before flight” is written on the front in English.

According to the U.S. military’s website, the canister is very likely a cover for an instrument that detects abnormalities in the motion of the propeller.

In the afternoon December 7, Okinawa Defense Bureau head Koichiro Nakajima visited Ginowan Mayor Atsushi Sakima and reported, “I went to visit the site as soon as I heard the news. We are currently investigating and reaching out to the U.S. military for inquiry.”

Mayor Atsushi pretested, “Can’t we definitively say that this belongs to the U.S. military? Something dropping onto a nursery school is about as serious as a situation can be.”

The Ginowan City Assembly reached out to the Special Committee on Bases for help with the response.


Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, in an indication that the prefectural government had determined a high likelihood that the part came from a CH-53 said, “Since single misstep can lead to a dangerous incident, this is a very serious matter.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga commented, “The people of Okinawa have no choice but to feel uneasy about this, not to mention the fact that it involved a nursery school.”


(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)


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