NAHA, Okinawa Pref. – The three municipal governments that host the U.S. Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture urged the U.S. military Monday to scrap a scheduled air show following the crash of a Marine Corps helicopter this month.
The municipalities had earlier given their consent for the show. Brig. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas, commander of the U.S. Air Force’s 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base, was quoted by the cities’ mayors as asking for a few days before announcing a decision.
In a meeting at the base, Mayors Tokujitsu Miyagi of Kadena, Masakazu Nakasone of Okinawa and Choichi Hentona of Chatan told Jouas that residents fear possible accidents. The request came amid strong local anger following the Aug. 13 crash of the U.S. Marine Corps helicopter on a university campus and the U.S. decision to bar local police from conducting an on-site investigation. Three U.S. servicemen were hurt in the crash but there were no civilian casualties.
The U.S. Thunderbirds air demonstration squadron is scheduled to take part in an hourlong show at Kadena Air Base on Sept. 15.
The Thunderbirds are also scheduled to perform at the Air Self-Defense Force bases in Misawa in Aomori Prefecture, Hyakuri in Ibaraki Prefecture and Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture from September through October, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the ASDF’s founding. Meanwhile, Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine met Fukushiro Nukaga, policy chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, in Tokyo and called for the swift establishment of a panel to discuss the Status of Forces Agreement.
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