Japanese Self-Defense Forces, together with U.S. forces in Kochi Prefecture, pushed through with a scheduled anti-disaster drill early Friday. The drill, which was supposed to be done with the help of U.S. Marine Corps’ MV-22 Osprey aircraft, went through the exercise even with the aircraft missing.
The joint exercises were conducted in preparation for an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 happening in the Pacific Coast near Kochi, with the assumption that it will cause 30-meter high tidal waves to hit the prefecture’s coast. The Osprey was supposed to be part of the drills and would be used to transport Ground Self-Defense Forces from the Marines’ air base in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture. After which, it would fly survivors to Fukuoka Prefecture to the Air Self-Defense Force’s Tsuiki base. However, poor visibility caused by bad weather prevented them from including the Osprey in. The aircraft’s power combined with its ability to fly and land like a helicopter makes it the perfect transport vehicle during disaster times in the country.
Based at the Futenma Air Station in Ginowan, the Osprey continues to attract disapproval from the residents of Okinawa for fear of it crashing into nearby residential areas. The Japanese government is keen on having MV-22 training missions outside the prefecture to lessen the people’s burden of hosting the base in their island. Currently, all Ospreys in Japan are located at the Marine’s Futenma Air Station.
[via Global Post]