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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 April 4 - 10  > JCP urges gov’t not to allow Osprey deployment to US Yokota base
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2018 April 4 - 10 [US FORCES]

JCP urges gov’t not to allow Osprey deployment to US Yokota base

April 5, 2018

Japanese Communist Party lawmakers on April 4 met government officials to demand that the government urge the U.S. military to withdraw its plan to deploy Osprey aircraft to the U.S. Yokota Air Base in suburban Tokyo.

On the previous day, U.S. Forces in Japan announced that it will move up the schedule for the official deployment of Ospreys to the coming summer which was initially planned to take place in the fiscal year starting October 2019 and the announcement indicated that five CV-22 Ospreys will arrive at the Yokota base in a few days.

JCP parliamentarians Miyamoto Toru, Kasai Akira, Yamazoe Taku, and Kira Yoshiko called officials of the Defense Ministry and Foreign Ministry to the Dietmembers’ office building to have them explain fully about the Osprey deployment. The meeting was joined also by JCP members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly and representatives of local peace organizations.

A Foreign Ministry official said that the government was informed by the U.S. military of the revised deployment plan on March 16, but refrained from making it public until April 3 at the request of the U.S. forces in Japan.

Miyamoto criticized the government for keeping the new schedule secret from the public until the last moment apparently in order to prevent the organization of protests.

JCP member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Hara Noriko pointed out that the flight of CV-22s will impose even more extreme noise pollution and other hardships on local residents. The representative of a residents’ group working for the removal of the U.S. Yokota base, Takahashi Mieko, said that people living near the base are in constant fear of a crash in their residential areas and that the Osprey deployment is unacceptable as it will harm people’s lives and livelihoods.

On April 4, the JCP Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Members’ Group made representations to the metropolitan government, calling on Governor Koike Yuriko to urge the Japanese and U.S. governments to give up the planned stationing of Osprey at the Yokota base.

In the representations, the JCP assembly persons stated that Osprey aircraft have repeatedly had serious accidents including crashes. They stressed that once the accident-prone aircraft is deployed to the Yokota base, they will carry out flight training exercises over schools, welfare facilities, hospitals, and densely-populated areas in and around Tokyo, which will endanger residents’ lives.

A Tokyo government official in reply explained that the metropolitan government together with the governments of six municipalities near the Yokota base already requested the national government to ask the U.S. military to provide detailed information on the planned deployment and take thorough safety measures. The official added that the JCP request will be conveyed to the governor.

Past related articles:
> LDP Koike in Tokyo governor race calls US Yokota base a ‘treasure’ [July 21 & 26, 2016]
> US seeks to deploy Ospreys to Yokota Air Base in Tokyo [May 10, 2015]

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