• Kyodo

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The village assembly of Ie, Okinawa Prefecture, on Monday unanimously adopted a statement protesting a proposal being considered by the U.S. and Japanese governments to transfer a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter unit to the village.

In the statement, the assembly urges the Japanese government to withdraw the proposal. It says the transfer “will not only strengthen the functions of the (existing) airfield but force local residents to pay a great sacrifice” in terms of safety.

The assembly said if the transfer went ahead, the village would be at risk of accidents. In August, a U.S. military helicopter crashed into a university campus adjacent to the Marines’ Futenma base.

The 8-sq.-km U.S. airfield occupies 35 percent of Iejima Island, about 9 km northwest of the main Okinawa Island.

Senior Japanese officials said Saturday that Japan and the United States have begun discussing transferring the unit from the Futenma Air Station in central Okinawa Island to the U.S. Iejima Auxiliary Air Field on Iejima Island.

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