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Okinawa asks marines not to refuel at civilian airport

Date Posted: 2003-05-24

The Okinawa Prefectural Government asked the U.S. Marine Corps Friday to cancel its plan to use the airport on Shimoji Island to refuel their aircraft on their way back from exercises in the Philippines. The Shimoji Airport is located in Irabu Town off Miyako Island. According to prefecture officials, Ryoko Arakaki, the head of the Okinawa Governor's Office, requested the cancellation during a phone call to Col. Ron Yowell.

The Marines had asked permission for six CH-46 helicopters and a refueling tanker plane to land at Shimoji on Saturday. The aircraft were on their way back from a joint drill with Philippine forces to the MCAS Futenma.

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