TOKYO (Sputnik) — The parliament of Japan’s Okinawa prefecture on Monday adopted a resolution demanding the US armed forces to stop using helicopter landing strips in the Takae district of Higashi village and cease flights of US aircraft over private property and water resources across the whole prefecture following the recent accident involving a US helicopter, local media reported.
On Wednesday, a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter made an emergency landing after bursting into flames in midair over Okinawa. Local media reported that the helicopter landed in a private yard and only 400 meters (1,300 feet) away from the Fukuji Dam, which plays a crucial role in water supply in the prefecture.
According to the Okinawa Times newspaper, Okinawa’s lawmakers stressed that the central government mulled the construction of six landing strips next to the Higashi village despite protests of the local residents, which lead to the intensification of military drills in the area and resulted in the latest accident.
“The prefecture’s residents who should unavoidably coexist with military bases were strongly shocked, their fear and anxiety are immeasurable … This is the situation in which we are compelled to point out inadequacy of the security management of the US army,” the lawmakers stressed, as quoted by the newspaper.
The newspaper added that the resolution would be sent to the US government and US troop commanders, while the relevant notices would be submitted to the Japanese prime minister, foreign minister, defense minister and other key members of the cabinet.
The island of Okinawa is the main site of the US military presence in Japan within the framework of the US-Japan security treaty signed in 1951. The large concentration of US troops on the island of Okinawa has been repeatedly criticized by Okinawa's residents due to the high number of crimes committed by US military personnel, as well as US aircraft crashes around its airbases.