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Occupation of the University

U.S. Marines occupying the Okinawa International University Administration Building

Continued from part 2, The Invasion

   Normal procedure for emergency situations calls for Japanese police to take over operations as soon as the firefighters give the green light. But for reasons which remain contentious and legally disputed, U.S. military police, who were later joined by personnel from the Japanese Defense Facilities Administration Agency, sealed off a large section of campus which had already been cordoned off by the Marines. This was later described by U.S. authorities as a safety measure, yet Marines guarding the perimeter kept shouting only one phrase, "NO PICTURES!"
   Police investigators were refused entry to the crash site. The Marines told them to go submit a written request for cooperation at the base Legal Affairs Office. Japanese police then submitted an official request for U.S. military cooperation in their investigation. A quick response was promised by Legal Affairs, but the answer wasnft forthcoming for several days, and when it did come, the answer was gNo.h The Japanese police were reduced to guard duty around the perimeter of the site.

NO PICTURES! What were the Marines so desperate to hide from the public eye?

   Coincidentally, at the time of this incident the Ginowan City Military Base Affairs Committee was holding a meeting at the city office about the return of the base. Mayor Yoichi Iha had just returned from a trip to the U.S. where he lobbied for return of the base. After listening to Mayor Ihafs report on his trip, in an even more bizarre coincidence, the committee members were watching a video of U.S. helicopters flying over residential areas when the news came in about the crash.

U.S. Marines inspect the wreckage

   The meeting was immediately adjourned, and the committee members drove the short distance to the university to inspect the site. Incredibly, even though police, firefighters, and Marines were walking all around the occupied area at the time, the Mayor and his party were refused entry. In a move which clearly insulted the Mayor, fast food delivery people were allowed to pass right in front of him. OIU President Toguchi was also refused entry to his own office at this time.

   Governor Inamine was overseas at the time of the crash. In his absence, Vice-Governor Hirotaka Makino responded to the disaster on behalf of the prefectural government. He immediately called for a cessation of all flights from the base pending its closure, and cast doubt over plans to move the facility to Henoko in the north of the island. This position was later reversed by the governor, who reiterated his support for the relocation plan.

Deep gashes in the reinforced concrete wall of the Administration Building cut by the rotor blades.

Read more ...
Part 4, The Aftermath



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