Japan, U.S. to discuss formation of forces accident panel

Japan and the United States will hold preparatory talks Friday over the formation of a joint group to study ways for the two countries to cooperate in dealing with accidents involving U.S. forces in Japan, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said Thursday.

The group, the Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Accident Site Cooperation, will be under the Japan-.U.S. Joint Committee on the Status of Forces Agreement, Hosoda told a news conference.

The subcommittee is an apparent effort to fend off simmering anger of residents in Okinawa, where a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter crashed Aug. 13 on a university campus in Ginowan, a densely populated neighborhood near the marines’ Futenma Air Station.

Participants of the subcommittee will include Kazuyoshi Umemoto, deputy director general of North American Affairs Bureau at the Foreign Ministry, and David Shear, minister counselor for political affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, according to Hosoda. In the CH-53D copter crash on Okinawa International University campus, the three crewmen aboard the aircraft were injured.