• Kyodo


A court in Okinawa Prefecture has ordered a man to pay a ¥500,000 fine for pointing a laser at a U.S. military helicopter flying near the Futenma base in July.

Before the court ruled Monday, prosecutors had indicted Katsuro Hiraoka, 56, who runs a video-related company, on charges of aiming a laser at a helicopter carrying four marines around 300 meters above his house in the city of Ginowan for nine minutes from around 9 p.m. on July 1, forcing them to halt their training.

The Marine Corps has expressed concern about laser pointers, with an official saying they “pose a threat to the safe operation” of aircraft at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

Similar incidents have been confirmed in which a laser was aimed at U.S. military aircraft flying near Kadena Air Base in Okinawa and at U.S. military and Maritime Self-Defense Force aircraft at the Atsugi base in Kanagawa Prefecture.

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