Japan asks US not to fly helicopters after Okinawa crash
TOKYO (AP) - Japan asked the US military not to fly its Japan-based HH-60 helicopters until it determines why one crashed at a US base on the southern island of Okinawa, as the US Air Force said on Tuesday that it stopped searching for a missing crew member after finding remains.
Three of the helicopter's four crew members ejected from the aircraft and were in stable condition, the US Air Force said in a statement. It said the human remains found near the crash site were not yet identified. Japan's defence minister had said Monday that information then available indicated all had survived.
Japan formally complained to the US over the crash, which occurred at a time of intense local opposition to the US Marine Corps' additional deployment of 12 MV-22 Osprey transport aircraft on Okinawa, where anti-US military sentiment is a longstanding issue.
Dozens of opponents of the US presence gathered on Tuesday outside the Futenma base on Okinawa, chanting and raising fists and banners protesting the crash and demanding an end to the Osprey deployments.