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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 December 14 - 20  > Okinawa-elected lawmakers protest against Osprey crash in waters off their prefecture
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2016 December 14 - 20 [US FORCES]

Okinawa-elected lawmakers protest against Osprey crash in waters off their prefecture

December 15, 2016
Japanese Communist Party Dietmember and other opposition party lawmakers elected from Okinawa Prefecture on December 14 made representations to the Defense Ministry, protesting against the crash of a U.S. Marine Corps Osprey aircraft in shallow waters off the coast of the prefecture.

At around 9:30 p.m. on the previous day, a tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey was wrecked after making a hard-landing in the sea 80 meters off the coast of Nago City. The crash site is only a few hundred meters away from residential areas. The Osprey aircraft is notorious for its poor accident record and the latest crash is the first serious accident in Japan since the Osprey deployment to the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Ginowan City in October 2012.

JCP member of the House of Representatives Akamine Seiken, along with three other Lower House members and two Upper House members representing Okinawa lodged a protest with Parliamentary Vice Minister of Defense Kobayashi Takayuki. They criticized the Japanese government and the U.S. military for deceptively calling the crash a “forced landing” with the aim of playing down its seriousness. As measures to prevent a recurrence, the Okinawan parliamentarians demanded that all 24 Ospreys at the Futenma base be grounded and removed from Okinawa as early as possible. They also urged the government to immediately stop the construction of U.S. Osprey landing pads in the Takae district in northern Okinawa.

The defense ministry official in reply cited an explanation by the U.S. that Osprey operations will be suspended until their safety is confirmed.

In Okinawa on the same day, Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi summoned officials of the Foreign Ministry’s Okinawa Office and the Defense Ministry’s Okinawa Defense Bureau to lodge a protest. The governor said that whatever the accident is called, a crash is a crash, just based on the fact that the aircraft was badly damaged. Onaga demanded that Ospreys be banned from further flights and removed from Okinawa.

The U.S. military on December 14 announced that another Osprey made a belly-landing at the Futenma base on the same night of the crash.

Past related articles:
> 5,000 Tokyoites hold rally to oppose Osprey deployment to US Yokota AB [November 24, 2016]
> Chiba JCP demands cancellation of plan to overhaul US Ospreys at local SDF camp [October 26, 2016]
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