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Marines resume airdrop practice at Ie Airfield

Date Posted: 2003-03-15

The U.S. Marine Corps has resumed airdrop practice on Ie Island. The military announced the change in a news release last week. The drills were halted in October after a drop landed on a farmerís field outside the auxiliary airfield perimeter.

The Marines say they have beefed up safety measures to ensure that the drills pose no danger to local civilian population. A Marine spokesman says they have also moved drop targets further away from civilian areas.

Hours after the resumption, Okinawa Governor Keiichi Inamine expressed regret that the drills have been restarted. "People of the village of Ie are against the resumption of the drills. Starting them is most regrettable," the governor said. "We will consider steps to take after gathering views in Ie."

On Oct. 25, a parachute carrying plastic water tanks failed to open, plunging the load into a private field. The package landed about 50 meters away from a farmer and his wife who were working in the fields. Although there were no injuries or damage to the property, the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly adopted a resolution next day calling for an end to the drills.

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