On October 13, shortly after 4 ofclock in the afternoon, two CH-53D Sea Stallion heavy assault transport helicopters—the same type of helicopter used by U.S. Marines in the crash they caused at our university on August 13—took off from Futenma air base and conducted training maneuvers over residential areas. The following day, numerous training flights of the same aircraft over residential areas were repeated. This action appears to be in response to the deplorable decision by the Japanese government to grant approval for a resumption of such flights. It is nevertheless a flagrant violation of every democratic principle the United States claims to support, and tramples on the freedom and safety of the citizens of Japan, particularly Ginowan City residents and the staff and students of Okinawa International University. We find this totally unacceptable.
On August 17, four days after the crash, the College of Global and Regional Culture held an extraordinary faculty meeting and unanimously passed a resolution demanding the immediate end to all military flights out of M.C.A.S. Futenma, and the prompt closure of the base.
The recent resumption of flights, in blatant disregard of the democratic wishes of the citizens of Okinawa, endangers the lives not only of students, faculty, and other university personnel, but also of the residents of Ginowan City and other municipalities in Okinawa Prefecture. The events of August 13 make obvious to all the inevitability of another accident. Faculty, students, and local residents experienced those dangers close-up and first-hand. The rotor gashes in the blackened wall of the Administration Building and the devastated landscape at the crash site bears daily reminder that we are forced to live in constant fear of another helicopter crash. We are filled with outrage that the U.S. military has nonetheless decided to resume military helicopter flights in wanton and callous disregard of the safety of students, university employees, and local residents.
We, the faculty of the College of Global and Regional Culture, therefore demand the immediate termination of U.S. military helicopter training flights, and with the aim of securing a safe educational environment, we reiterate our determination to put a permanent end to all military flights in and out of M.C.A.S., Futenma.