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Letter of Protest from Governor Onaga to Lt. Gen. Nicholson with regard to Lost Parts from a CH-53E (English translation of the original Japanese document)

Lieutenant General Lawrence D. Nicholson
Commanding Officer
III Marine Expeditionary Force
United States Forces Japan

Re: Lost Parts from a CH-53E (Protest)

This memo is pertaining to the accident which took place approximately 10:09 on December 13, where a CH-53E lost its component in Futenma Daini Elementary School in Ginowan City.

At the time of the accident, physical education class was conducted on the ground and a fourth-grade school student suffered a scratch in the accident, though this accident could result in a serious accident involving many lives of children. Therefore, we cannot contain our indignation.

In addition, a component, which seems to be a CH-53E part, was found in a neighboring nursery school in December 7. These accidents were repeated in a short period of time in nursery and elementary schools, which should be safe places for children. Such events significantly shocked the people of Okinawa Prefecture who are forced to live near the U.S. bases and cannot be tolerated.

Aircrafts belonging to MCAS Futenma repeatedly caused accidents within one year, including a crush, an emergency landing, a flame and a crush landing. It indicates that the U.S. forces give top priority to their operations and disregard safety issues. Therefore, anxiety among the people of Okinawa Prefecture has been growing more than ever before.

We, the Okinawa Prefectural Government, strongly protest the U.S. forces regarding the accident. We call for an urgent inspection of all aircrafts, flight suspension and release of the cause of the accident.

We also urge the U.S. military to implement effective measures and enforce thorough safety management to prevent the recurrence of such accidents as well as fundamental review of safety measure.

Takeshi Onaga
Governor of Okinawa Prefecture

Note: This document has been translated from the Japanese original for reference purposes only. In the event of any discrepancy between this translated document and the Japanese original, the original shall prevail.