Yokota schools evacuated after bomb threat
Officials evacuated the high school and middle school at Yokota Air Base, Japan, after a student discovered a bomb threat scribbled on a piece of paper near a water fountain Tuesday morning. It was the second such incident in a week.
A Yokota High School student found the note at 11:59 a.m., according to a base news release, and a teacher called the 374th Security Forces Squadron.
Police units quickly responded, evacuating the area and setting up a perimeter.
“The schools were evacuated and a 1,000-square-foot safety area was cordoned off,” said Peter Grenier, chief of staff for Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Japan.
He said the students first moved to Wilkins Field, but because of the cold conditions, they were sent to a nearby hangar to keep warm. Around 2 p.m., Grenier said, the decision was made to run the school’s buses and take the students home.
Yokota sent a helicopter from the 459th Airlift Squadron to Yokosuka Naval Base to pick up an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, which was brought in to assess the situation. The scene was declared safe at 2:30 p.m., according to the news release.
Last Thursday, a bomb threat written on a note was found on the windshield of a car parked next to Building 316, which sits alongside the 374th Airlift Wing’s headquarters. The vehicle’s owner alerted security forces, who evacuated the area and established a 1,000-foot safety perimeter for about four hours.
Buildings 314, 315 and 316 were emptied after the first threat, along with the Yokota Community Center, post office, Family Support Center, bowling alley, Community Bank and Burger King. Airlift Avenue, Davis Street and Crabb Avenue were shut down between Tunner and Spaatz streets.
Fussa gate, the main entry point to Yokota, was closed briefly for traffic control. All others remained open.
Both incidents are under investigation, according to 2nd Lt. Jessica Martin, a base spokeswoman. She said she could not speculate whether the two notes were connected.
Vince Little contributed to this report.