Marine chopper makes emergency landing on Tonaki
A U.S. Marine AH-1 helicopter made an emergency landing on Tonaki Island some 60 kilometers west of Naha, about 8 p.m. Tuesday. This is a third incident involving U.S. military aircraft on Okinawa during the past three weeks.
According to the U.S. military, the attack helicopter that is based on the MCAS Futenma made the landing after a warning light came on. The helicopter’s two-men crew was not injured, nor was there any damage to the helicopter.
Following the incident, the Japanese Defense Ministry asked Lt. Gen. Jerry Martinez, the commander of U.S. forces in Japan, to provide detailed information about the emergency landing, take measures to prevent any repeat of such an incident, and conduct safety checks and maintenance on all U.S. military aircraft in Japan.
On Wednesday, Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga blasted the U.S. military of not taking the repeated incidents seriously. “The U.S. military is out of control and totally unable to supervise itself,” Onaga told reporters in a Naha press conference.
“There is no sign of an improvement,” Onaga said. “This shows that they conduct training irrespective of our protests.”
Meanwhile, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera expressed his displeasure with the incidents when meeting with reporters. “There have been too many emergency landings by U.S. military helicopters,” Onodera said. He continued that he would question the U.S. military about whether its aircraft maintenance is really sufficient..