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Near-miss as United States helicopter window lands in playground

14 December 2017

An elementary school student in the southern Japanese city of Ginowan was slightly injured after part of a United States military helicopter fell on him, according to the Japanese news network NHK, which reported that the incident took place shortly after 10AM on Wednesday.

The boy was among about 50 children on the elementary school grounds when the window fell from a U.S. CH-53E transport helicopter.

The Marines Corps, whose Air Station Futenma is next to the school, has apologised for the "regrettable" incident.

The southern island of Okinawa hosts the largest USA military presence in Japan.

The U.S. military admitted that the object was a window from a CH-53E helicopter belonging to the Futenma base and the aircraft immediately returned to base following the incident.

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The window and frame, around 1 square meter in size, fell onto the playground of the Futenma Daini Elementary School around 10:15 a.m.

"We take this report extremely seriously and are investigating the cause of this incident in close coordination with local authorities", the statement said.

Takehiro Kamiya, the nursery school's principal, said Tuesday, "I don't want the prefectural and central governments to accept without question what the USA military says". "Despite repeated accidents, USA military officials would not lend their ears to our concerns". Another helicopter belonging to the Futenma base crashed into a nearby university in 2004, injuring three US crewmembers.

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga has led the campaign to get the base off the island, while the central government has proposed moving it to a less populated part of the island called Henoko. American military officials in turn claimed that it was allegedly the United States heavy transport helicopter CH-53.

Near-miss as United States helicopter window lands in playground