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Errant bullet launches new anti-military complaints

Date Posted: 2008-12-18

A bullet hole in a car license plate in Kin Town discovered only days after the US military conducted intense weapons training at a Camp Hansen firing range has stirred new fears about citizens’ safety.

Igei housing area residents had already been complaining about the shooting activities at the range, but their appeals for the firing to stop went unheeded. Heavy training December 9th and 10th brought renewed complaints.

Just after the training, a man discovered the bullet hole in his car’s license plate and notified police. Suspecting the bullet was a stray coming from Camp Hansen, they complained to the Japanese Self Defense Force, which advised the American military “local residents are afraid of the training. We should try to get safety training, so would you stop training for a while until the accident is investigated?”

JSDF officials say the U.S. military has not responded to their request, further angering local Igei area residents, who are now circulating fliers among residents to see if there was any other damage. Police have also sent fragments of the bullet taken from the back side of the license plate to the Military and Science Investigation Institute to determine the origin of the bullet.

Advised of the incident, Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima urged calm, noting the investigation isn’t yet complete. “I can’t comment right now, until the situation is clear,” he said.

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