Japan prods U.S. on errant shell

Kyodo

Japan has asked the U.S. military to look into the cause of a shell landing mistakenly outside a training area in Hokkaido during a drill, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday, urging the U.S. side to ensure safety.

“We have asked the United States to investigate the incident and share information with us as soon as possible,” Suga told reporters.

A 155-mm howitzer round fired by U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa landed Tuesday in a meadow outside a training site during live-fire artillery drillz in Hokkaido, a local bureau of the Defense Ministry said. The drills have been held since 1997 to reduce the burden in Okinawa, home to the bulk of U.S. bases in Japan.

Suga said it is important for other areas to share such training exercises but added “safety comes first.” He noted the drill has been called off until the cause of the incident can be confirmed.