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    An AV-8B Harrier with Marine Attack Squadron 214 lands on the flight deck of the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2)

    Japan Authorities Worried by US Decision to Resume Harrier Flights After Crash

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    Japanese authorities in the Okinawa prefecture are concerned about the US decision to resume flights of Harrier fighter jets, which were grounded after a crash, local media reported Friday.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) A Marines Corps AV-8 Harrier plunged into the sea off the Okinawa shore last month during a routine training flight. The only pilot ejected to safety, but the cause of the incident was not identified.

    Okinawa Vice Governor Mitsuo Ageda complained on Friday that the US military cleared the warplanes for further operations without paying attention to concerns of local residents, the Kyodo news agency said.

    It also cited Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada as saying that the government would make sure that a thorough investigation was conducted into the crash and all safety requirements were met.

    Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, the commander of US Marine Forces Japan in Okinawa, assured reporters earlier this week that the safety of Harrier fighter jets had been confirmed.

    The extensive US military presence in Okinawa has been at the heart of tensions in the area, with residents demanding that US bases be removed from the island.


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