October 18, 2017
NAHA, OKINAWA PREF.- The US military resumed flights of CH-53E helicopters in Okinawa Prefecture on Wednesday, ending an operational pause that followed an accident involving the same type of chopper in the southern Japan prefecture on Oct. 11.
At least one CH-53E large transporter was spotted taking off and landing at the Marine Corps' Futenma air station in Ginowan in the morning.
The Japanese government and Okinawa Prefecture have demanded that the flight suspension be kept in place until the cause of the accident is identified.
"The flight resumption is extremely regrettable," Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters. "We've received explanations from the US side, including on measures to prevent similar accidents, but they haven't fully convinced us on safety."
Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga issued a statement condemning the US move. "It's totally unacceptable that the US military went ahead with the flight resumption without giving explanations about the cause of the accident or preventive measures," he said. Jiji Press
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