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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 April 29 - May 12  > US seeks to deploy Ospreys to Yokota Air Base in Tokyo
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2015 April 29 - May 12 [US FORCES]

US seeks to deploy Ospreys to Yokota Air Base in Tokyo

May 10, 2015
The U.S. government recently informed its Japanese counterpart about its plan to deploy CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft to the U.S. Yokota Air Base in Tokyo from 2017, Akahata reported on May 10.

If they are deployed to the Yokota base, it will be the first deployment of U.S. Ospreys on the mainland of Japan. Washington plans to deploy around 10 CV-22s to the base.

CV-22 Ospreys, which are special operations aircraft assigned to the U.S. Air Force, are mainly used under harsh conditions in mountainous regions. The Japanese Defense Ministry’s data released in 2012 indicates that the accident rate of CV-22s per 100,000 flight hours is 13.47, while that of MV-22s is 1.93. In April 2010, a CV-22 crashed in Afghanistan, killing four crew members on board. A CV-22 went down in Florida in June 2012 during a flight training exercise.

Since the 2000s, Washington had considered deploying CV-22s to the U.S Kadena Air Base in Okinawa with the aim of engaging them in counterterrorism operations in the Middle East. In 2012, however, the U.S. faced vehement local opposition when it introduced MV-22 Ospreys into the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Okinawa. After that, Washington began to consider the possibility of deploying CV-22s on the Japanese mainland.

In the meantime, the U.S. Marine Corps and Special Operation Forces have frequently conducted parachuting drills at the Yokota base. It is obvious that the U.S. aims to enhance the capability of the air base as a special operations stronghold by deploying Ospreys.

A group of leaders of the six municipalities hosting the Yokota base issued a statement on May 9, expressing their “shock” at the deployment plan.

Tsuruta Kazutada, head of a residents’ group seeking the removal of the Yokota base, pointed out that the deployment of such crash-prone aircraft will threaten people’s lives not only in the metropolitan area but also across the country. He expressed his determination to increase the public movement to thwart the plan.


Japanese Communist Party lawmakers made representations to the Foreign and Defense ministries on May 11, demanding that the Japanese government not accept the U.S. plan to deploy CV-22 Ospreys to the U.S. Yokota base.

The representations were also attended by JCP members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly and the assemblies of the six municipalities near the base. Noting that CV-22s are even more accident-prone than MV-22s, participants insisted that it is totally unacceptable to deploy CV-22s to the base which is located in a densely populated area.

Officials of the ministries said that the deployment would contribute to security in the Asia-Pacific region by increasing the deterrence capability of the Japan-U.S. alliance.

Past related articles:
> US Ospreys conduct 1st training exercises in Tokyo [September 1, 2014]
> Residents in Tokyo area also oppose Osprey deployment [October 26 & 27, 2013]
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