Photo/IllutrationChildren arrive at Futenma No. 2 Elementary School in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, on Dec. 14, the day after a metal window frame fell from a U.S. Marine helicopter and landed in the school ground. The school is making the children stay indoors at all times for the time being. (Kengo Hiyoshi)

The governor of Okinawa Prefecture flew on Dec. 14 to Tokyo to file urgent protests with the central government and the U.S. Embassy over yet another incident involving an object falling from a U.S. military aircraft and threatening the safety to Okinawa children.

Takeshi Onaga went to the Defense Ministry and the U.S. Embassy to express his outrage over the Dec. 13 incident, the second in less than a week.

The latest mishap involved a metal window frame weighing 7.7 kilograms that fell from a CH-53E helicopter on to the grounds of the Futenma No. 2 Elementary School, where dozens of students were engaged in a physical education class outdoors.

The school is located next to the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in densely populated Ginowan city.

In Tokyo, the government dispatched Tatsuo Fukuda, a parliamentary secretary of defense, to Okinawa Prefecture the same day in an attempt to mollify prefectural authorities there and the Ginowan city government. Fukuda is also scheduled to meet with U.S. military officials.

The Okinawa government called Dec. 13 for an immediate grounding of all U.S. military aircraft deployed in the prefecture until inspections confirmed that they are safe to operate. The request was ignored as aircraft continued taking off from U.S. bases in the prefecture.

Children at the Futenma No. 2 Elementary School arrived at school as usual around 7:30 a.m. on Dec. 14, while a dozen or so parents watched over them.

At the Futenma base, six stationary CH-53E helicopters could be seen.

Military maintenance personnel inspected the doors and other parts of the same model of helicopter. The work included removing window frames and refitting them.

Despite the request to ground all military aircraft in Okinawa Prefecture while safety inspections are carried out, a different model of helicopter took off from the base after 11 a.m. and flew close to the elementary school. A number of other aircraft also took to the air.

At the U.S. Kadena Air Base in the prefecture, a number of aircraft, including a fighter jet, were observed taking off.