A Japanese boy has been injured when a metal window frame fell from a U.S. military helicopter in Okinawa.
A student was slightly injured by small stones thrown up by the impact of the metal-framed window when it hit the playground of the school in the city of Ginowan, located just next to the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
The latest incident is likelyto stir greater frustration among the locals, who have expressed concern and anger over accidents and crime linked to the USA military presence on Okinawa.
Just last week, a part from another US military helicopter fell from the sky onto a kindergarten roof, but no one was injured. "The aircraft immediately returned to MCAS Futenma and reported the incident". "It is unforgivable that it dropped in the middle of the playground", Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga told reporters as he visited the site.
At 10:09 a.m. local time (11:09 a.m. Guam time) a CH-53E window fell onto the sports field of an elementary school in Okinawa, according to a press release from the III Marine Expeditionary Force.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said: "This sort of incident creates anxiety not only among those involved with the school but the people of Okinawa and should never happen".
Local police and investigators in collaboration with the U.S. Military and the regional Defense Bureau are further investigating the detailed information related to the latest accident, authorities said Wednesday.
"I was so surprised that I trembled", said Erina Nakama, a 54-year-old principal of a nursery school about 100 meters away.
Takehiro Kamiya, the nursery school's principal, said Tuesday, "I don't want the prefectural and central governments to accept without question what the USA military says". Another helicopter belonging to the Futenma base crashed into a nearby university in 2004, injuring three US crewmembers.
Today, the USA still retains 26,000 U.S. troops and 33 military bases on Okinawa, the BBC and Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported. "It is unforgivable that it dropped in the middle of the playground", Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga was quoted as saying as he visited the site of the latest USA -linked military accident.
Japan's central government and Okinawa authorities have been at odds for years over the Futenma base.