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Kin Town lodges a protest over U.S. training violation

Date Posted: 2011-03-17

The U.S. military didn’t land its helicopters on the helipad at Blue Beach Training Ground in northern Okinawa, opting the land on the beach nearby, and that has infuriated Tsuyoshi Gibu, the Kin Town mayor.

Gibu has hand-delivered a letter of protest to Rou Manabe, the Okinawa Defense Bureau Director, complaining that “Promised articles are not observed, and it causes much anxiety, such as differences of exercise information or training dates to local inhabitants.” The mayor such he can no longer permit the infractions. Helicopter operations were relegated to Blue Beach in the Ginbaru training area after being completed in October 2009. Since then, Kin Town has demanded the military refrain from training at any other areas than the Blue Beach.

“We communicate with the U.S. side mostly by word of mouth,” the Okinawa Defense Bureau told mayor Gibu. “We recognize that training is conducted basically at the helipad, but cannot answer what the U.S. military deems effective at a given training situation.”

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