The prefectural police declared that the cause of the accident on Dec 7, 2017, when a plastic part of a U.S. military aircraft fell on the roof of Midori-Ga-Oka nursery school in Nodake, Ginowan, cannot be identified. Once again, it seemed that those in power have covered up the accident not to hold the U.S. forces responsible for it.
The U.S. army denies having any part in the incident, declaring that the aircraft stripped off any canister before the take-off. However, they admitted the fallen object as a part of a CH53 helicopter.
The prefectural police stated that there is not enough evidence to clarify the facts of the accident because the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement does not allow Japanese police to make direct inquiries to the U.S. military personnel. As a result, the U.S. Army will not be blamed for their blunder.
Six days after the accident mentioned above, a window frame from a CH53 helicopter (8kg) fell into an elementary school playground in the same city. December in the year before the accident, Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey crashed onto the Abu beach of Nago City and broke into pieces. In December 2017, a CH53 helicopter made a forced landing at a private lot in Takae, Higashi-son village, and went up in flames. There have been numerous other accidents. However, in all of the cases, the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement restricts the direct police investigations; thereby, suspects remain unidentified and causes unknown.
Accidents caused by U.S. military forces happen a lot in Okinawa. Until when will the residents have to live in fear of the U.S. army?
(In front of Camp Schwab Gate)
Despite the cold weather, 40 members of the Okinawa Heiwa Shimin Rennraku-kai (Okinawa Peace Forum) resumed the sit-in protest. In three rounds, 230 truck loadings of landfill soil got imported into the base area.
At noon, more than half of the protesters went to Nago City Hall. That day, Mayor Taketoyo Toguchi informed the city council of his recommendation regarding the base construction design changes. The recommendation was in three sentences and did not address the “soft ground” and environmental risks. The statement was, in essence, to approve the new base construction.
One hundred sixteen people gathered in front of the City Hall and criticized: the mayor neglects his duty to take responsibility for the city residents’ lives. Seven members of the opposition party participated and stated: they urge the City Council to discuss the matter further.
Nago City Council consists of 26 members, 13 respectively, from opposing and ruling parties. The members of the ruling parties insisted: the Council should carefully deliberate. The voting is to take place on Dec 21.
(Ryukyu Cement Awa Pier)
Fifteen members of Nambu Shimagurumi (The Southern chapter of the Island-Wide Conference) protested at the pier’s entrance and exit. After official complaints from the residents to the Public Safety Committee, the riot police commander, H, was placed under the Committee’s inspection and was nowhere to be seen. So the protests continued peacefully. Ms. S from Yaese said that “It helps if one comes only once a week and delays the construction work just a little. It would be better if more young people would join us.”
Eight hundred ninety-seven loadings of earth and sand got transported onto four cargo ships.
(Motobu Shiokawa Pier)
Four members of Motobu Shimagurumi (Motobu chapter of the Island-Wide Conference) came to protest. There was no riot police. Even despite the small number, the result was outstanding, as they crisscrossed slowly in front of the passing dump trucks. Some trucks got stuck in congestion. The four members continued until 5 in the afternoon. Five hundred thirty-five deliveries of landfill soil were loaded onto four cargo ships.
Number of dump trucks which made delivery from December 2018 to the end of December 2019 114,601(1.39%)
|Number of dump trucks
|Weightt of earth/sand
|Converted to volume
|Volume per Total
※ Cumulative since Dec. 1, 2019
※① Calculated by assuming that the average truckload per dump truck would be 5 tons
※② Calculated by assuming that a specific weight of soil/sand set to be 2
※③ Percentage against 20.200.000m3, the total volume of earth and sand required for the landfill.