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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — A bomb threat at Yokota High School on Wednesday morning that interrupted classes and the workday was labeled a “hoax” by base officials.

The midweek threat was the latest in a series of incidents at Yokota schools, office buildings and facilities since January 2004. No explosives were found during any of the scares.

At 9:25 a.m. Wednesday, a teacher found a letter on the floor that warned of a bomb inside the building, according to Capt. Warren Comer, a 374th Airlift Wing spokesman. It was reported to Principal Richard Schlueter, who immediately contacted military officials. Emergency responders, security forces, the fire department and 374th Mission Support Group officials were called.

Students from the middle and high schools were sent to Wilkins Field and Hangar 15, Comer said. Nearby buildings and offices also were evacuated as police established a 1,000-foot safety perimeter, standard practice during bomb threats.

After a search of the area disclosed no bomb, students and employees were allowed back into that sector of the base about two hours later.

“They believe it was a hoax,” Comer said, “so they canceled the threat and let the kids go back to school.”

Security forces officials are investigating the incident.

In May 2004, four middle school students were banned from base after admitting their roles in a bomb threat there two months earlier. In March 2004, a staff sergeant was reduced in rank to senior airman and given 45 days of extra duty and a reprimand for placing a note that warned of a car bomb outside Building 316 — which sits next to the 374th Airlift Wing’s headquarters.

Yokota officials say anyone expelled from base would forfeit his or her status-of-forces-agreement privileges and have 30 days either to leave Japan or apply for a visa as a foreign national.


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