Third U.S. Marine Corps AH-1 Attack Helicopter makes emergency landing in Japan

Airlines Airways News

OSAKA – Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga denounced the U.S. military as “crazy” Wednesday following the third mishap this month involving an Okinawa-based U.S. helicopter.

“The U.S. military is out of control. They can’t exercise any oversight, there are no signs they will reform, and the Japanese government can’t handle them,” Onaga told reporters in Naha on Wednesday after an AH-1 attack helicopter based at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma made an emergency landing at Tonaki village Tuesday evening.

The second incident occurred when a U.S. military helicopter made an emergency landing Jan. 8, touching down near a beach only a few hundred meters from a resort hotel.

Okinawa prefectural police and firefighters rushed to the site after a resident here called the emergency phone number around 4:50 p.m. to say a U.S. military helicopter had made an emergency landing.

According to the Okinawa Defense Bureau, the AH-1 attack helicopter used by the U.S. Marine Corps landed near the Hotel Nikko Alivila.

There were no injuries to the crew or to local residents in the incident, which comes just days before a local election on Feb. 4 where Futenma’s relocation will be a key issue.

“This is extremely regrettable. The Defense Ministry is calling on the U.S. military to conduct emergency inspections on all AH-1 attack helicopters stationed at Futenma and to suspend all flights of this aircraft,” Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters in Tokyo.

The main issue is expected to be the relocation of Futenma, which now sits in Ginowan in the central part of the main island, to Nago’s Henoko district, where a new offshore facility is being built.

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