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Marines driver training practices draw complaints to U.S. Embassy

Date Posted: 2005-09-01

US Marines using the Okinawa Expressway for driver training have raised a furor over their U-turns at toll booths.

“I think this training should not be done,” says Director of Liaison for the Defense Facilities Administration Bureau. “Making u-turns right after the toll gates will cause accidents,” he said. He acknowledged the Naha DFAB had been aware of the training practices, but now says a request has gone to the military to curb the practice. “I want the military to stop it.”

The large trucks are used for driver familiarization training, and often make u-turns immediately after entering or exiting toll gates. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it has asked the US. Embassy in Tokyo to address the safety issues this week. The SOFA Division director told the Embassy’s security director that “There is a problem regarding safety, and I want you to be careful.” The Embassy says it is taking the issue directly to the military for resolution.

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