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Ginoza market paid a surprise visit by armored vehicles

Date Posted: 2007-07-21

Customers at the Ginoza Future Center, a local farmers’ market, were surprised Wednesday when they watched first three, then two armored personnel carriers pull into the parking lot. Workers at Mirai Ginoza shop notified local government officials of the unexpected stop, and they advised the Naha Regional Defense Facilities Administration Bureau.
The first three U.S. Marine Corps light armored vehicles stopped at the parking lot along Highway 329 at 5:45 p.m. to conduct safety checks. Village officials say those LAV’s left after five minutes. Ginoza Municipal Government officials described the scene as unusual, very rare, but said “the vehicles caused no trouble at all.” Center Director Masahito Gushiken said he’d never seen such vehicles stop anywhere while traveling from base to base. He said it appeared the troops were participating in some form of exercise, and said “some of our customers, most of whom are tourists from outside Okinawa, were a bit scared because they’d never seen anything like this before.”
Minutes later, two additional light armored vehicles pulled into the market parking lot and conducted similar vehicle checks. Witnesses say nearly a dozen Marines climbed from the vehicles, inspected the LAV’s, and left after five minutes. Marine Corps officials say the stops were “brief, routine maintenance/safety stops at a Ginoza Village shopping plaza parking lot.” The vehicles were, according to a press release, returning from “routine training in support of the U.S. Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.”
The Ginoza Village Office said it received a note from Marine officials explaining the vehicles had stopped to check a minor malfunction in one of the vehicles.

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