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Marines disavow second bullet found at Kin Town

Date Posted: 2008-12-25

Kin Town residents say they’ve found a second bullet they believe came from a nearby US military firing range, and again called for a stop to all live fire exercises.

The US Marine Corps Monday said “while ordnance experts were visiting the site, Okinawa Prefecture Police showed Marine Corps ordnance experts another piece of metal that was allegedly found December 21st in Igei District. As a result of visual inspection, Marine Corps officials do NOT believe this second piece of metal is connected with recent Marine Corps training.” The ordnance experts were at the scene as part of the Marine Corps’ investigation into the alleged incident where a .50-caliber steel core penetrator was found December 13th in Kin Town’s Igei District.

The round was found lodged in the license plate of a local resident’s car, prompting irate residents to search the same area. The second shell was found near a house, leading residents to ask “Where is our safety?” and “Do they think about our lives?” Kin Town’s mayor, Tsuyoshi Gibo, was present when the second shell was found, leading him to declare “I’m almost sure this bullet came from the American military training area. Why won’t they stop training? I’m very angry.”

The mayor says he’ll meet with three other communities in the Camp Hansen area, while the Marine Corps tried to reassure residents. “The Marine Corps continues to cooperate with the Okinawa Prefecture Police in their investigation,” a spokesman said, “and request an exchange of information with local authorities to determine any potential connection to the U.S. military.”

He said “any modification of procedures or temporary cessation of training will be dependent upon evidence and an exchange of information with local authorities.” He added “The Marine Corps continues regularly scheduled live-fire training at our ranges in the Central Training Area. All units conducting live-fire training continue to adhere to safety procedures, and unit leadership will ensure strict compliance with already established live-fire safety procedures.”

“I can’t say anything yet, because we’re still not sure about the bullet,” says Okinawa’s governor. Hirokazu Nakaima assured residents “Okinawa Prefecture Police are checking the bullet, and figuring where it came from. After the document is clear,” he says, “I can decide what we shall do.”

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