Monday, December 28, 2015

Okinawa court fines man ¥500,000 for pointing laser at U.S. Marines chopper

NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. – A court in Okinawa Prefecture on Monday ordered a 56-year-old man to pay a fine of ¥500,000 ($4,152) for pointing a laser at a U.S. military helicopter flying near an American base in the prefecture in July.

The order came after prosecutors indicted Katsuro Hiraoka, who runs a video-related company, the same day on charges of aiming a laser at a helicopter carrying four Marines around 300 meters above his house in the city of Ginowan for nine minutes from around 9 p.m. on July 1, forcing them to halt their training.

The Marine Corps has expressed concern about laser pointers, with an official saying they “pose a threat to the safe operation” of aircraft at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

Similar incidents have also been confirmed in which a laser was aimed at U.S. military aircraft flying near the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa and at U.S. military and Maritime Self-Defense Force aircraft at the Atsugi base in Kanagawa Prefecture.