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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 December 14 - 20  > Amid storm of protests, Ospreys are back in the air
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2016 December 14 - 20 [US FORCES]

Amid storm of protests, Ospreys are back in the air

December 20, 2016
Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira on December 19 at a press conference held in the Diet building denounced the full resumption of MV-22 Osprey flights just six days after the crash of the same type aircraft on the beach in Okinawa, expressing his strong protest against the Japanese and U.S. governments.

Koike said that it is a matter of course that Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi and Mayor Inamine Susumu of Nago City, where the crash site is located, criticized the U.S. military for restarting the Osprey operation.

Koike pointed to the fact that while the Japanese government had no information about the crash because the U.S. forces ignored the Japan Coast Guard’s request for cooperation in its investigation, Defense Minister Inada Tomomi simply accepted the U.S. military’s explanation. “Looks to me like a puppet regime of the colonies,” Koike added.

Koike noted that the U.S. forces have created six routes for Osprey’s low-altitude flight training exercises over 140 municipalities in 21 prefectures on mainland Japan and plan to conduct flight training drills at least 330 times annually on these routes. He said that the need is for people both inside and outside Okinawa to work together to remove all Ospreys from Japan.

In Okinawa, Governor Onaga at a press conference held in the prefectural office building criticized the resumption of Osprey flights as outrageous. “I feel strong anger at the Japanese and U.S. governments, both of which disregard Okinawan demands,” said the governor.

Onaga pointed out that neglecting his request to ground the tilt-rotor aircraft, the U.S. military put them back in the air, and said that under the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, the government of Japan is faceless. He expressed his determination to urge the two governments on various occasions to withdraw the Osprey deployment.

In the evening of this day, 3,000 people assembled around the Diet building in Tokyo to voice their protest against the resumption of Osprey flights.
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