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A policeman watches over Chatan High School in Chatan town, Okinawa, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022.  Schools and city offices were closed for the day because of a bomb threat.

A policeman watches over Chatan High School in Chatan town, Okinawa, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. Schools and city offices were closed for the day because of a bomb threat. (Frank Andrews/Stars and Stripes)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A bomb threat Friday closed schools and city offices in Chatan town, an Okinawa municipality home to parts of two U.S. Marine Corps bases.

An email to Chatan town hall Thursday morning threatened an explosion at city offices and local schools at an unspecified time Friday.

Authorities shuttered those buildings out of concern for public safety, a town spokesman told Stars and Stripes by phone Friday.

No threat was directed at U.S. service members, families, Defense Department schools or military bases, according to a Facebook post by Marine Corps Installations Pacific on Thursday night.

The command advised its members to avoid Japanese government offices and public schools on Friday “as a precautionary measure for their safety and well-being.”

Chatan, in central Okinawa, includes parts of Camps Foster and Lester.

Kadena Air Base, north of Chatan, also warned its members through Facebook on Thursday and shared the list of services affected by the bomb threat.

Japanese police were seen near the town’s schools on Friday. A patrol car stood watch over Chatan High School at 11:30 a.m., and the Chatan Kindergarten’s playground and parking lot were empty.

This is Chatan’s first bomb threat, the town’s spokesman said on the customary condition of anonymity.

“As of 1:30 p.m., there is no report of an explosion at any of the schools or facilities in Chatan, so far,” the spokesman said.

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Frank Andrews is a reporter at Camp Foster, Okinawa. He’s an alumnus of the Defense Information School and University of Maryland University College. His previous Navy assignments have taken him to Iraq, Bahrain, Diego Garcia, Japan, South Korea and Naval Special Warfare Command in California.
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Mari Higa is an Okinawa-based reporter/translator who joined Stars and Stripes in 2021. She previously worked as a research consultant and translator. She studied sociology at the University of Birmingham and Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of Social Sciences.
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