Japanese official demands more information on US Army helicopter crash
Japan’s defense minister has called for the United States to thoroughly investigate an Army helicopter’s hard landing last week aboard a ship off Okinawa’s coast, NHK reported Sunday.
Defense Minister Gen Nakatani met with Lt. Gen. John Wissler, commander of Marine Forces Japan, Saturday in Okinawa and demanded that the U.S. military provide more information about the accident and take measures to comfort concerned residents.
Wissler told Nakatani that the U.S. military will work hard to prevent future incidents, and he’ll contact the Japanese government if there’s further information about Wednesday’s crash, the Japanese broadcaster reported.
Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga on Thursday asked for revisions to the status of forces agreement between the U.S. and Japan. He complained that the prefectural government was not provided details about the accident, and that the agreement gives Japan no say in incidents involving the U.S. military within the country.
Onaga plans to push to have the SOFA revised, though he admitted doing so will be difficult, NHK reported.
The UH-60 Black Hawk was conducting a training mission when the incident occurred, a USFJ news release said. Five U.S. and two Japanese servicemembers were injured.
The special operations aircraft attempted to land on the USNS Red Cloud, which was underway about 20 miles east of the island, between the northern cities of Nago and Uruma.