US military chopper makes emergency landing in Japan

This month the US apologised to Japan after a string of accidents in Okinawa, including a December incident when a US helicopter window fell onto a school sports ground. No one was injured

An American military helicopter made an emergency landing on a remote Japanese island Tuesday, police and news reports said, the latest in a series of accidents that have fuelled local opposition to US forces based on Okinawa.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage from the landing at a heliport in Tonaki, a tiny island in Okinawa prefecture some 60 kilometres (37 miles) west of the main island, a police spokesman told AFP.

There was no immediate comment from the US military.

This month US Secretary of Defense James Mattis apologised to Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera after a string of accidents on the southern Japanese island, where more than half the 47,000 American troops in Japan are stationed.

Earlier in January, two American military helicopters separately made emergency landings in Okinawa. There were no injuries or damage.

Last month, a window from a US military helicopter fell onto a school sports ground near the Futenma marine air base in Okinawa, but again no one was injured.

In October an American military helicopter burst into flames after landing in an empty field on the island.

Such accidents have sparked opposition to the US bases on the strategic island, which would serve as a launchpad for any American military activity in Asia.

A series of crimes including rapes, assaults, hit-and-run and drink-driving accidents by US personnel have also triggered protests on Okinawa, and are a frequent irritant in relations between close security allies Japan and the United States.

Okinawa was the site of a major World War II battle that was followed by a 27-year US occupation of the island.