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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 March 6 - 12  > Okinawa Governor and residents living near Yokota AB in western suburbs of Tokyo oppose restart of Osprey flights
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2024 March 6 - 12 [US FORCES]

Okinawa Governor and residents living near Yokota AB in western suburbs of Tokyo oppose restart of Osprey flights

March 10, 2024

A liaison council of six groups of residents living near the U.S. Yokota Air Base (Tokyo) on March 8 submitted to the Defense Ministry 15,371 signatures demanding a continued halt to flights of Osprey aircraft.

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Miyamoto Toru and JCP member of the House of Councilors Kira Yoshiko joined the liaison council on the signature submission. Miyamoto said, “Reportedly, the Japanese and U.S. governments are working on a schedule for the resumption of Osprey flights. It will be unacceptable to restart the flights without the residents knowing what the two governments agreed upon.” Kira said, “The Defense Ministry says it will fulfill its accountability,” and asked, “Can you say that you won’t agree with the U.S. side to resume flights of the tilt-rotor aircraft until you gain local consent?” However, a DM official did not respond to this question.

In November 2023, a CV-22 Osprey deployed at the U.S. Yokota AB crashed off Yakushima Island (Kagoshima Pref.), killing all eight crewmembers. The U.S. military had since suspended all Osprey flights in the world, but the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) on March 8 announced that it has given permission to resume flights of the Osprey aircraft.

In response to this announcement, Japan’s Defense Ministry in the evening of the same day issued a statement stating, “We can safely resume operations (of the Osprey),” and accepted the resumption of Osprey flights without question.

However, both the cause of the deadly accident and the details of the component failure that caused that accident have not yet been revealed. In addition, the accident report of a U.S. MV-22 Osprey crash, which occurred last August in Australia and killed three crewmembers, has also not been released.

According to the U.S. military news site “Breaking Defense”, a U.S. Department of Defense official responsible for Osprey aircraft points out that the wreckage of the CV-22 is corroded because it has long been underwater, making it difficult to identify the cause of the accident.

Tamaki Denny, the governor of Okinawa, where the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station, the U.S. Osprey base, is located, on March 9 released a statement, “As the cause of the accident has not been determined yet, the resumption of Osprey flights is impermissible.”

Past related article:
> US Osprey crashes into waters off Kagoshima, first fatal accident in Japan [November 30 & December 1, 2023]
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