Friday, March 28, 2008

Local bigwigs in flap after U.S. military jeep does U-turn in school parking lot
Mainichi Daily News

URUMA, Okinawa -- Local education officials are complaining after a U.S. military jeep used a parking lot at a school for disabled students to do a U-turn, local officials said.

The Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education plans to file a protest with the U.S. forces over the incident as early as Friday.

According to officials, the medium-sized two-seater jeep drove onto the premises of the Okinawa prefectural high school for the mentally disabled in Uruma, Okinawa Prefecture, at around 2 p.m. on Thursday.

The jeep made a U-turn in a parking lot about 30 meters away from the main gate and left the premises about 1 1/2 minutes later.

Around 70 teachers were in the school at the time. There were no students due to spring break.

This was not the first case of intrusion by U.S. military vehicles into schools in Okinawa. A U.S. Marines armored vehicle entered the same high school on July 18 last year, while another U.S. military truck entered the Okinawa Prefectural Maehara High School on Aug. 6 last year. Both schools are about 1 kilometer away from each other.

"When we filed a protest against the intrusions last year, the U.S. military said they would take thorough measures to stop it from happening again. Here comes an intrusion again, right after prefectural citizens held a rally protesting the incidents (triggered by U.S. servicemen)," said Morikazu Nakamura, superintendent of the prefectural board of education.

(Mainichi Japan) March 28, 2008

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