Futenma elementary school’s yearly evacuation drill assumes a U.S. military aircraft crash

Futenma elementary school’s yearly evacuation drill assumes a U.S. military aircraft crash

Students participating in the evacuation drill assuming U.S. helicopters approaching at the Futenma Daini Elementary School


January 19, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo


On January 18, the Futenma Daini Elementary School conducted an evacuation drill assuming a situation in which a U.S. military aircraft approaches the airspace over the school.

With evaluators stationed by the Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB) present, the school representatives confirmed the evacuation routes and assembly points.

City Board of Education Guidance Section Manager Mitsugu Kanou angrily said, “It’s as if we’re back in wartime. It is deplorable how we must constantly worry about the sky above us.”



The school used the athletic field for the first time since the accident in which a window fell off a U.S. military helicopter into the same athletic field. Four classes participated in the drill.

Evaluators on the roof notified the evaluators in the athletic field of a simulated U.S. military aircraft approaching and told them to “Run” over a loudspeaker to facilitate the evacuation.

The children hustled from the athletic field to the assembly point.



Every year, Futenma Daini Elementary School conducts an evacuation drill assuming a U.S. military aircraft crashing.

But this was the first evacuation drill since the accident. Some students declined to participate.

While the school and the city board of education have been requesting that U.S. military aircrafts not fly over the school, both Japanese and U.S. governments have only said that the aircrafts “will not be flying to the maximum extent” and have not given a definite promise.



Regarding the drill, Section Manager Kanou said, “This is a situation that normally should not be happening” and emphasized that “A promise that they will not fly for 99.9% of the time still means there is a 0.1% chance that they will fly.

Conducting evacuation drills cannot be helped since it is to lessen people’s anxiety.”



(English translation by T&CT and Chelsea Ashimine)


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