Onodera, Welsh call for speedy reporting on chopper crash in Okinawa

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera agreed with U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh on Monday that the U.S. military should release its accident report on a fatal helicopter crash in Okinawa as soon as it has been compiled.

"The people of Okinawa remain worried (about the safety of military operations)," Onodera told Welsh at the Defense Ministry in asking for the report to be released quickly to let the Japanese public know why the accident happened, and Welsh said the U.S. military will do so.

On Aug. 5, an HH-60 rescue helicopter crashed in a mountainous area within the premises of Camp Hansen, killing one of the four crew members, the latest in a series of accidents involving U.S. military aircraft in Okinawa.

Tokyo has urged Washington to indentify the cause of the accident and come up with preventive measures in an apparent bid to keep antibase sentiment from growing further in Okinawa, home to the bulk of U.S. military bases in Japan.