NAHA, Okinawa Pref. – Controversial U.S. Marine Corps airdrop drills have resumed on Iejima Island in Okinawa Prefecture, the Marines said Friday.
The drills, which involve parachuting supplies from airplanes from the U.S. military’s Iejima auxiliary airfield, were halted in October after supplies were found to have landed in a civilian area.
Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine expressed regret Friday that the drills have been restarted.
“The village of Ie is also against the resumption of the drills. It is most regrettable,” he said. “We will consider steps to take after gathering views in Ie.”
The Marines, meanwhile, said they have stepped up safety measures, including designating drop targets farther away from civilian areas.
On Oct. 25, the parachute of a package containing such supplies as plastic tanks of water failed to open, sending the payload plunging into a field owned by a civilian. The package was found by a farmer and his wife who were working in the fields about 50 meters from where it landed.
While no one was injured, the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly adopted a resolution on Nov. 11 calling for an end to the airdrop drills at the Iejima airfield.
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