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Kadena accused of making practice bombing runs

Date Posted: 2007-09-18

Central Okinawa residents say fighter aircraft flying from Kadena last week were carrying cluster bombs in violation of a 2005 agreement.
According to local newspaper reports two fighter jets took off from Kadena at 3:42 p.m. last Thursday, witnesses say, each carrying four cluster bombs. One observer said the planes appeared to be carrying live ammunition, based upon yellow belts fastened to the ordnance. Witnesses say there were no bombs fastened to the plane wings when they returned nearly two hours later.
Kadena aircraft had conducted similar training missions two years ago, but the Kadena Town Assembly had protested the actions, resulting in an agreement not to conduct such operations in the future. One observer said the training September 10th ~ 13th looked to be about the same as in earlier years.
Witnesses say the planes, thought to be Harrier fighters based at Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station in mainland Japan, carried other ordnance in addition to the cluster bombs during the training. One Kadena observer said it appeared the Iwakuni-based planes exercised using rockets, bombs and laser guided bombs.
Although not acknowledged by the U.S. Air Force at Kadena, residents believe the fighter planes conducted bombing runs near Kume Island, off Okinawa’s coast. They base the conclusion on the length of time the aircraft were away from Kadena.

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