Okinawa residents fly kites to protest deployment of Osprey aircraft

Okinawa residents fly kites to protest deployment of Osprey aircraft

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The residents of the Southern Japanese island of Okinawa are not happy about the deployment of 12 new Osprey Hybrid aircraft to the Futenma United States military base. The US has assured the Japanese government that the aircraft are safe; in spite of the accident in Morocco, which killed two US Marines in the month of April.

An aircraft had also crashed in Florida in the month of June. These facts make it difficult for the Japanese residents to accept the presence of the aircraft, especially when the Futenma base is surrounded by residential area. Hundreds of protesters had raised banners, and chanted outside the Futenma base this week to show their concern over the safety hazards of the aircraft.

The first six of the 12 new aircraft had arrived at the base last Monday. The concerned residents protested the arrival of the aircraft by flying kites near the airbase as the flights attempted to land.

The members of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center were responsible for the protest, which was led by director Hiroji Yamashiro. Yamashiro had come up with the idea to fly balloons or kites to protest the deployment of the aircraft. Yamashiro said, “If the people of Okinawa take this problem seriously, we can stop the Osprey”. About 70,000 yen was raised by Yamashiro from 130 people to purchase kites with the members at the local protest meeting.