US military chopper makes emergency landing on Japan beach
An American military helicopter made an emergency landing on a beach in Okinawa yesterday, an official said, the latest in a series of accidents which have fuelled local opposition to US forces on the Japanese island.
There were no immediate reports of injuries from the landing in Uruma, a local fire department official said.
Footage aired by public broadcaster NHK showed the UH-1 helicopter, which appeared intact, surrounded by US servicemen and Japanese police on the sandy beach.
Immediate comment from the US military was not available.
Last month, a window from a US military helicopter fell onto a school sports ground near the Futenma marine air base in Okinawa, but no one was injured.
The incident also comes just two months after an American military chopper burst into flames after landing in an empty field on the island.
Such accidents have sparked opposition to the US bases on the strategic island, which would serve as a launchpad for any American military activity in Asia.
A series of crimes including rapes, assaults, hit-and-run and drink-driving accidents by US personnel have also triggered protests on Okinawa, and are a frequent irritant in relations between close security allies Japan and the United States.
More than half the 47,000 American troops in Japan under a decades-long security alliance are stationed on Okinawa, the site of a major World War II battle that was followed by a 27-year US occupation of the island.