(Adds Marines to delay next delivery of Osprey aircraft)
TOKYO Aug 5 A U.S. military helicopter crashed
on Japan's southern island of Okinawa on Monday, U.S. Forces in
Japan said, an incident that could stoke anger over the
concentration of U.S. military bases on the island.
The U.S. Air Force said in a statement that three of the
four crew members involved in the crash were in stable
condition. It said the remaining crew member had not been
There were no casualties among local residents, a Japanese
Video footage showed smoke rising from a fire on a remote
The air force said an HH-60 helicopter, based in Kadena
airbase in Okinawa, crashed in a training area on the U.S.
Marines' Camp Hansen and U.S. fire and rescue crews were
responding. It added that the helicopter was conducting a
training mission at the time.
"This is really regrettable. We are asking the U.S. side for
a speedy supply of information," Defence Minister Itsunori
Onodera told reporters. "We plan to strongly demand for
investigation into the cause of the accident and measures to
prevent a recurrence."
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to move the U.S. Marines'
Futenma airbase to a less crowded part of the island, but stiff
opposition from Okinawa residents is stalling the plan.
Residents of Okinawa, host to the bulk of U.S. military
forces in Japan, have long resented bearing what many feel is an
unfair share of the burden for the U.S.-Japan military alliance.
Many associate the U.S. bases with accidents, crime and
The Marines said they would comply with a request to delay
the next scheduled arrival of MV-22B Osprey aircraft "out of
respect for the desires of our Japanese partners and hosts."
"The MV-22 is a highly capable aircraft with an excellent
operational safety record, and we will resume their deployment
to Okinawa in the near future," the Marines said in a statement.
(Reporting by Tokyo bureau, additional reporting by Phil
Stewart in Washington; Editing by Nick Macfie and Ken Wills)