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PAC3 exercise draws public attention

Date Posted: 2011-11-04

The U.S. Army took precautions as it began moving its PAC3 missile units from Kadena Air Base to Futenma Marine Corps Air Station, and then on to Camp Courtney for an exercise, but the motorcades still drew attention.

Convoys began deployments at 2 a.m. to minimize traffic interference as the motorcades moved along public roadways, and officials say the vehicles were careful to travel 20-30 kilometers per hour, well below the speed limit. A total of 35 large vehicles were involved as the motorcades moved from point to point to start a joint Japanese-American military exercise, starting from the Shirakawa gate in Okianwa City between 2:20 a.m. and 4 a.m.

At the Shirakawa gate, camouflaged tents were pitched, with U.S. personnel starting communications duties. Uruma City’s mayor, Toshio Shimabukuro, says the Americans “did exercise a lot last year, and mechanical equipment and materials were arranged at places that could be seen from residential areas.” He conceded, though, that “prescribed exercises are unavoidable because the Japanese government offers the bases, but we hope to stop what inflames residents’ anxieties by more extensions of such exercises.”

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