Bottle of water falls off Osprey

JIJI, Kyodo

Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima criticized the U.S. military Friday after a water bottle dropped out of a tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey that took off from U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Tuesday.

“It’s an outrageous incident,” Nakaima told a regular news conference. “I want (the U.S. military) to implement thorough safety measures.”

On Thursday, Ken Kohagura, a prefectural official in charge of issues related to the U.S. bases Okinawa hosts, submitted a protest during a meeting with Marine Corps official William Truax at Camp Zukeran in Okinawa.

“The incident was serious because someone could have been injured,” Kohagura said, urging the U.S. military to take preventive measures.

Truax explained that the incident was caused by human error, adding that U.S. forces are making every effort to prevent similar mishaps, according to Kohagura.

It is not known if the 20-cm bottle fell within the Futenma base’s perimeter or the crowded surrounding neighborhood, U.S. officials told Kohagura.

Also Thursday, Hirofumi Takeda, head of the Defense Ministry’s Okinawa Defense Bureau, held a meeting with Ginowan Mayor Atsushi Sakima. Ruing the latest incident, Takeda assured that the central government “will continue working to prevent something like this from happening again.”

“The U.S. military should not cause a burden or emotional pain on Okinawa residents,” Sakima retorted.