Okinawa investigating lights beamed at US military aircraft
Okinawa police are investigating five incidents since July when strong laser-like lights were beamed at U.S. military aircraft flying near Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Kyodo News reported Tuesday.
The lights “pose a threat to the safe operation” of aircraft and could impair a pilot’s vision and lead to a crash, especially when a night-vision device is in use, a Marine Corps official said in the report. No injuries have been reported because of the beams.
The Japanese government has been working to restart long-delayed plans to relocate Futenma from a densely populated part of central Okinawa to the prefecture’s rural north. Citing safety concerns, Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga has fought to have the base moved off the island prefecture, and is attempting to stop construction of a runway designed to help transport Marines to various missions in the Asia-Pacific region.