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LDP to discuss reviewing Japan-US status of forces pact after window accident

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party decided on Dec. 19 that discussion is necessary as to whether the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement should be revised, it has emerged.

The decision was made during a meeting between the party's National Defense Division and Research Commission on Security.

During the meeting, the accidental fall of a window from an airborne U.S. military CH-53E helicopter onto an elementary school playground in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, on Dec. 13, was discussed. Subsequently, it was deemed necessary to talk further about whether the agreement should be revised, in order to confirm the safety of U.S. military operations.

Voices of concern were raised by some of the meeting attendees -- on issues such as helicopter design safety -- with one person stating, "Shouldn't we press ahead with amending the agreement?"

However, there were apparently no objections in the meeting about the resumption of CH-53E helicopter flights on Dec. 19.

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