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Okinawa man fined for pointing laser at Marine helicopters

MV-22 Marine Corps Ospre
Photo by Sgt. Sarah Fiocco

A court in Prefecture on Monday ordered a 56-year-old man to pay a fine of 500,000 yen ($4,152) for pointing a at a U.S. military helicopter flying near an American base in the southern island 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 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 pointers, with an official telling Kyodo News 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 was aimed at U.S. military aircraft flying near the Kadena Air Base in and at U.S. military and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force aircraft at the Atsugi base in Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo.

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