NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. – The U.S. military resumed flights on Tuesday of the type of helicopter from which a window fell onto the grounds of an Okinawa elementary school last week, a Japanese government source said.
According to the source, a CH-53E transport helicopter left U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, near the affected school, shortly after noon.
While no one was injured when the metal-framed window fell onto the school’s playground near the base last Wednesday, the incident has reignited safety concerns and discontent at Okinawa’s hosting of the bulk of the U.S. forces in Japan.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga signaled the government’s acceptance of the decision.
“We have judged that the U.S. military has taken the measures (necessary) to resume flights,” the top government spokesman told a news conference in Tokyo.
Suga said U.S. officials have explained that the incident was due to pilot error and that measures are in place to retrain all personnel to prevent it from happening again.
U.S. military officials visited the school on Monday, apologizing and saying they would make efforts not to fly over the school again.