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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 August 2 - 8  > JCP demands halt to Osprey flight drills in response to latest crash in Australia
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2017 August 2 - 8 [US FORCES]

JCP demands halt to Osprey flight drills in response to latest crash in Australia

August 8, 2017
Japanese Communist Party Dietmembers on August 7 urged the Defense Ministry to oppose the U.S. military’s MV-22 Osprey flight training exercises. This action was made in response to the latest crash of the same type aircraft in the sea off Australia’s east coast.

JCP member of the House of Representatives Hatayama Kazuya and JCP member of the House of Councilors Kami Tomoko in the petitioning at the Defense Ministry pointed out that the U.S. military plans to deploy Ospreys in the Japan-U.S. joint military drills slated to begin on August 10 in Hokkaido. The two JCP parliamentarians stressed that no Osprey should take part in military training exercises, including the joint drills in Hokkaido. In addition, Hatayama and Kami demanded that the Japanese government obtain detailed information on the latest accident in Australia and divulge the information before the Diet and the general public.

Ministry officials in reply said that the cause of the crash is now under investigation. They said that the Japanese government had requested the U.S. forces to refrain from flying MV-22s in Japan. They, however, took the position of giving tacit approval to flights deemed to have operational necessity. Regarding Osprey’s planned participation in the bilateral joint military exercises in Hokkaido, the bureaucrats just said that the ministry is discussing the issue with the U.S. forces in Japan.

Hatayama criticized the U.S. military for conducting Osprey flights without submitting to Japan an investigation report on the previous Osprey crash in Okinawa’s Nago City in December 2016. He said, “The addition of the latest crash has provoked strong anger and anxiety among the general public. Given the serious risks pertaining to the crash-prone aircraft, flight drills must be suspended without exception.”

***

Meanwhile, on the same day, the JCP Tokyo Metropolitan Assemblymembers’ Group petitioned Governor Koike Yuriko to work to block Osprey flights over the Tokyo metropolitan area and the rest of Japan. The JCP also demanded that the governor request the Japanese government and the U.S. forces to retract a plan to deploy MV-22s to the U.S. Yokota base in western Tokyo.

The JCP assembly persons’ group pointed out that in the five years since 24 MV-22s were deployed to the U.S. Futenma base in Okinawa in October 2012, two of them have crashed. The JCP group stressed that the governor should push the Abe government and the U.S. military to remove the defective aircraft from Japan.

Tokyo government officials said that the metropolitan government and six municipal governments surrounding the Yokota base jointly asked the central government to thoroughly investigate the cause of the latest crash, take measures to prevent a recurrence, and made public any information obtained without delay.

Past related article:
> US military plans to conduct Osprey flight drills throughout Japan [October 16, 2015]
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