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URUMA, Okinawa — Local officials Tuesday filed protests with Tokyo government agencies after a U.S. military vehicle made a detour in a school yard Monday in Uruma — the second such occurrence in less than a month.

The Marine driving the military flat-bed truck became lost in Uruma and turned around in the parking lot of Maehara Senior High School, said 1st Lt. Garron Garn, a Marine Corps Bases Japan spokesman.

“After turning around safely … the driver continued with his mission transporting equipment for training exercises in support of the U.S.-Japan alliance,” Garn said.

He added that the safety of Marines and local communities is one of the Marine Corps’ top concerns “and we regret any anxiety this may have caused.”

Morikazu Nakamura, the Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education superintendent said that when the last incident occurred, military officials assured him that it would never happen again. He took their word for it, he said.

“But in less than two weeks, the trust was broken,” he said.

On July 18, a Marine light armored vehicle made a wrong turn into the parking lot of the Okinawa High School for the Disabled in Uruma, startling a group of students. Shortly after that, seven LAVs made a brief stop at a local market in Ginoza.

Stars and Stripes reporter Cindy Fisher contributed to this report.


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