Photo/IllutrationA CH-53E helicopter departs from U.S Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan in Okinawa Prefecture at 10:42 a.m. on Oct. 18. (Kotaro Ebara)

GINOWAN, Okinawa Prefecture--The U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa Prefecture resumed flight operations of a CH-53E transport helicopter Oct. 18 without offering an explanation for the cause of a crash-landing of one a week ago.

The decision was greeted with an angry denunciation by Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga who called the behavior of the U.S military "unilateral and outrageous.”

A CH-53E departed at 10:42 a.m. from the U.S Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, landing back at the station before noon.

“I request that under the responsibility of the Japanese government, it should set measures to protect lives and properties of Okinawa residents over such outrage,” Onaga said.

The Japanese government had asked for all CH-53E helicopter flights to be suspended after the Oct. 11 crash-landing on private grazing land in the Takae district of Higashi near a training area in the prefecture's northeast.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera had called for all CH-53E helicopters in Japan to be grounded until the cause of the accident and the aircraft’s safety had been determined.

Onaga also strongly demanded a halt to the flights until their safety could be confirmed.

Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, commanding general of the III Marine Expeditionary Force and the highest ranking U.S. serviceman in the prefecture, ordered flights halted for 96 hours from the morning of Oct. 12.

However, flights resumed without an official explanation for the cause of the accident.

According to an announcement by the U.S. military in the prefecture, aviation experts checked the helicopter’s maintenance record, but found no procedural or operational problems.

Onodera said Oct. 17 in response to the announcement, “It is extremely regrettable that they made the announcement one-sidedly and in such a way that did not provide sufficient explanation of the circumstances.”

The U.S. military had explained to mayors and others in the affected area Oct. 16 that it would not allow the aircraft to operate until investigative results were collected and made public, but it went ahead and resumed the flights anyway.

Demolition of the crash-landed aircraft started on Oct. 17, but the U.S. military did not inform the Japanese government in advance.

The accident occurred Oct. 11 while the helicopter was taking part in a routine training drill. The pilot was forced to make an emergency landing just 300 meters from a house outside the U.S. military’s Northern Training Area. All seven crew members escaped unharmed.

The helicopter burst into flames at around 5:30 p.m., leaving charred wreckage.