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Tokyo police investigate laser shined at US military aircraft

In this Sept. 17, 2016 file photo, a C-130J transport plane is seen at the U.S. military's Yokota Air Base. (Mainichi/Masamitsu Kurokawa)

TOKYO -- Someone on the ground shined a laser at a U.S. military C-130 transport aircraft flying near Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo on Feb. 11, individuals close to the investigation have told the Mainichi Shimbun.

The laser did not hinder the aircraft's flight, the individuals said. However, officers are investigating the incident as possible forcible obstruction of business after it was reported to the Metropolitan Police Department by the U.S. military.

According to a person close to the probe, the transport plane was targeted at least twice by a green laser from somewhere in the Tokyo town of Mizuho, one of the municipalities hosting the U.S. base, at about 6:30 p.m. If the laser had hit the pilot in the eyes, it may have caused damage or increased the risk of an accident.

Similar incidents in the past include a U.S. military helicopter being targeted by a laser in 2015 near the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, in Japan's southernmost prefecture of Okinawa. In that case, a business owner in his 50s was arrested on suspicion of forcible obstruction of business

(Japanese original by Yoshitaka Yamamoto, City News Department)

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