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JSDF Soldier Dies in Grenade Training Accident

YAMANASHI, May 31 (News On Japan) - Shrapnel from a grenade struck a soldier in the neck during a grenade-throwing exercise at the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force's (JSDF) North Fuji Training Area in Yamanashi Prefecture, on Thursday morning. The soldier was transported to a hospital but was later confirmed dead.

The deceased has been identified as Takumi Yamamiya, a 29-year-old member of the 1st Division, 1st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Company.

General Yoshitoshi Morishita, Chief of Staff of the Ground Self-Defense Force, stated, 'Such incidents should never occur in an organization that handles weapons, and as Chief of Staff, I take this matter very seriously.'

Footage from past grenade-throwing exercises by other units shows soldiers immediately taking cover in a safe place after throwing a grenade. Former Eastern Army Commander Etsukazu Watanabe noted, 'You must take cover in a protected place the moment you throw the grenade. Failure to do so can result in dire situations.'

In a typical training setup, the grenade thrower and the instructor stand side by side, with a distance of over 25 meters to the target. Behind them, more than 15 meters away, is the safety officer. After the grenade explodes, the safety officer confirms the situation from the rear before moving on to the next step.

Yamamiya was serving as the shooting instructor during the exercise.

Watanabe suggested that the delay in taking cover might have been due to Yamamiya checking whether the thrown grenade hit the target.

General Morishita confirmed, 'The grenade was thrown near the target and exploded normally. The grenade itself appears to have functioned correctly, and there is no indication that anyone deliberately caused the incident.'

Following this incident, the JSDF has suspended all live-fire training until safety can be assured. An accident investigation committee has been established to determine the cause of the accident.

Watanabe concluded, 'This is truly regrettable. When accidents occur, various unstable elements are involved. It is essential to thoroughly and persistently eliminate unsafe conditions.'

Source: ANN

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