NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. – A spent flare with a parachute attached was found on a rice field in the town of Kin, Okinawa Prefecture, on Thursday amid a weeklong U.S. military exercise at adjacent Camp Hansen, Japanese authorities said Friday.
The object was a 60-mm illumination mortar bomb, according to the Japanese Defense Ministry’s Okinawa Defense Bureau.
U.S. military authorities also said it fired two other flares that were found Friday morning hundreds of meters away from the rice field, the bureau said.
On Nov. 26, the Okinawa Defense Bureau notified the Okinawa Prefectural Government that the U.S. military planned to conduct exercises, including live-fire training, at Camp Hansen for seven days through Sunday.
Around 5:35 p.m. Thursday, local police received an emergency call saying that what appeared to be a flare had landed on the rice field about 50 meters away from a house. The object was 10 cm long, weighed about 250 grams and had a parachute attached to it, according to police and other sources.
One of the other two aerial flares found near the field was found hanging from a tree branch, while the other was discovered on a road, according to the town government.
Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki told reporters that such incidents could lead to a severe accident. He said the prefectural government will lodge a protest with the U.S. military and the Japanese and U.S. governments.