Anger in Okinawa intensifies over crash

Aug. 18, 2004 at 6:45 AM
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NAHA, OKINAWA, Japan, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Anti-U.S. military sentiment spread in Okinawa Tuesday, as local governments adopted resolutions seeking the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the prefecture.

The moves were sparked by the crash of a U.S. military helicopter on a university campus in the city of Ginowan Friday. Further fueling the fire, the U.S. military refused to allow Okinawa police to investigate the crash site. U.S. forces hauled away the chopper parts Monday.

Okinawa prefecture and at least six cities adopted resolutions seeking the early return to Japan of land used by the U.S. Marine Corps for an air base in Ginowan. About 10 other municipalities are to follow suit, the Asahi Shimbun reported Wednesday.

The Ginowan City Assembly urged the Japanese government to revise its agreements with the United States on the realignment of military facilities, including the planned relocation of the air base to an area off the coast.

In 1996 the United States agreed to return the land to Japan and relocate the air base in five to seven years. But disputes over the planned offshore heliport have delayed the relocation.

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