JCG patrol vessel accidentally fires 8 live rounds

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan Coast Guard personnel take photos of a cannon on the Shimoji patrol vessel in Miyakojima, Okinawa Prefecture, on Tuesday.

A Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel accidentally fired eight live rounds into a wooded area of an island in Miyakojima, Okinawa Prefecture, on Tuesday,

According to the JCG, the Shimoji patrol vessel anchored at Nagayama Port on Irabu Island accidentally fired live rounds from a 20-millimeter-caliber cannon toward an area north of the port at about 11:10 a.m.

No injuries or damage to civilian facilities have been reported. The JCG is searching the area for the bullets.

The incident occurred when crew members were inspecting the cannon in preparation for an offshore firing drill, according to the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters and the Miyakojima Coast Guard.

The harbor is located next to a farmland, and a hotel, among other facilities, is located about 600 meters east of the port.

“I heard sounds like firecrackers going off. I had no idea it was an accidental shooting,” a hotel employee said.

“This should never have happened. We will do everything we can to investigate the incident,” an official of the Miyakojima Coast Guard Office said. “We sincerely apologize to residents for the anxiety this has caused.”

At a press conference on Tuesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said: “It is extremely regrettable. I understand that a thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted.”

Nagayama Port is managed by Okinawa Prefecture. There is a supply depot nearby used by JCG patrol boats. Commissioned in 2016, the Shimoji patrols waters around the Senkaku Islands in the prefecture, among other activities.