NAHA -- Okinawa Vice Gov. Mitsuo Ageda met Lt. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, the top U.S. military officer in Okinawa, to lodge a formal complaint about a U.S. military aircraft that crash-landed off the Okinawan shoreline, only to be told that Japan should be thankful the incident did not hurt any Okinawan homes or people.
"Nicholson's colonialist mentality was on full display," Ageda told reporters following the meeting. "It was unbelievable."
A U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft crash-landed along the coast of the Okinawa prefectural city of Nago on the night of Dec. 13. Two of the five on board were injured.
According to Ageda, Nicholson, the Okinawa Area Coordinator and Commanding General of III Marine Expeditionary Force, expressed displeasure with the complaint brought against the U.S. military, telling the vice governor that Japan should be grateful that the pilot of the Osprey did no damage to nearby homes or residents.
Ageda handed Nicholson a letter of protest demanding the grounding of all Osprey aircraft and their withdrawal from Okinawa. Nicholson responded angrily, accusing Ageda of making the incident into a political issue.
Nicholson later held a press conference offering an apology to the people of Okinawa.