NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. – The U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa on Wednesday resumed flight operations of its CH-53E transport helicopters, insisting it has confirmed their safety following a crash-landing by one a week ago.
A CH-53E took off Wednesday morning from U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, where the choppers are based. The move came even as safety concerns and protests over the accident are gathering momentum at municipalities in Okinawa, which hosts the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan. The resumption also drew rebukes from both the Japanese government and the Okinawa government.