Here’s why the Okinawa government is building shelters to protect schoolchildren from the Marines

The strained relationship between the local population of Okinawa and the region’s US military occupiers is well documented.

Forward-deployed Marines once again drew the ire of locals in December, when a 3-by-3-foot window from a CH-53E Super Stallion fell from the helicopter as it flew over the area. playhouse at Futenma Daini primary school near Marine. Futenma Air Base. About 50 children were playing outside at the time, one of whom was slightly injured.

Only a week ago, on December 7, media reported that a small object fell from another Super Stallion and hit the roof of a Japanese preschool. Another structural blunder occurred in late November, when an Air Force F-35A lost a sign about 65 miles east of Okinawa.

Such a trend has raised concern among all parties concerned.

“We take this report very seriously and are investigating the cause of this incident in close coordination with local authorities,” said a December statement from the III Marine Expeditionary Force.

But it turns out the Okinawa government doesn’t consider the Marine Corps to take cloud forecasts seriously enough with any chance of Super Stallion coins.

On Tuesday, the Okinawa government announced the construction of shelters on school premises, including Futenma Daini, to protect schoolchildren from metal or glass objects falling from above.

“There will be four emergency shelters – two on playgrounds and two at other locations,” said Masashi Katsuren, spokesman for the Okinawa Defense Bureau. Stars and stripes.

Futenma Daini closed its playground following the strafing of the Super Stallion window in December, and since it reopened in February, staff have sent children inside whenever American planes were nearby, Stripes reported. More than 200 student evacuations took place in February and March, the Okinawa Times reported.

“We are somewhat relieved that with two shelters in the playground, we can shorten the evacuation time and resume physical education quickly,” Kenji Arakawa, deputy headmaster of the elementary school, told Stars and Stripes.

Construction is expected to be completed by the time the students return from summer vacation, Stripes reported.

The schism between US military personnel and their hosts, however, was not the only product of pieces of rogue planes falling from the sky.

In March, Lance Cpl. Nicholas James-McLean pleaded guilty to the drunk driving of a 61-year-old Japanese man. In May, Cpl. Mauricio Ambriz Camacho was driving in the town of Nago when he allegedly struck and killed a 45-year-old Japanese motorcyclist. And a few weeks later, Marine Sgt. David Hardy allegedly hit and killed Morio Sakumoto, 63, who was sleeping on the pavement.

No alcohol was involved in the Camacho or Hardy incidents, according to reports.

JD Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.

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