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Passers-by shocked by weapons training

Date Posted: 2012-02-17

Okinawans traveling along Highway 58 in Urasoe City’s Nakanishi district were stunned by the sight Monday of American GI’s laying on their bellies, pointing firearms in the vicinity of the major north-south Okinawa thoroughfare.

The action was happening at Camp Kinser about 3:30 p.m., with some 40 Marines practicing weapons training. Observers passing by the Marine Camp say most were pointing the weapons away from the highway, but some had guns pointed parallel to Highway 58, only a half-dozen meters from the fence line separating the base from a sidewalk and the street.

Passers by say there was no way of knowing if the firearms were loaded or not. The training location on the Camp Kinser base is only a few meters away from an Okinawan residential area. Urasoe City Hall received a number of telephone calls and inquires from residents who saw the Marines training so close to the road.

Camp Kinser officials answered Urasoe City Hall’s questions, explaining “this is routine training that started last week. We have permanent instructions not to aim their weapons toward the fence and Highway 58.”

Officials say a similar incident occurred in 2005 at Camp Foster, when a U.S. Marine reportedly aimed his weapon at Highway 58.

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