United States Air Force Secretary Michael Donley confirmed the likelihood of deploying the new Ospreys in the Kedena Air Base in the Okinawa prefecture, said Tokyo publication Yomiuri Shimbun on Sunday. On the other hand, Susumu Matayoshi, Okinawa prefectural spokesman, straightforwardly told director for Northeast Asia at the US Department of Defense Christopher Johnstone that the prefecture will not agree to additional planes in the area.
On Friday, Japan Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera made mention that they have received no information or advice from Washington as regards this matter. Pentagon later releases a statement that it has yet to notify the Japanese government about the Air Force CV-22 Osprey because they have yet to make a basing decision. It also said that deployment of such aircrafts in “the Asia-Pacific region is years away”.
The Osprey is a hybrid aircraft that can take off and land just like a helicopter, but can jet off like an airplane once high in the sky. They are supposedly to be brought in as replacements for the old helicopters still in use in the Okinawa base.
The Futenma airbase in Okinawa has been a cause of some concern between Japan and the U.S–with the residents of Okinawa demanding the removal of the airbase from the heavily populated area. Furthermore, said residents are also calling for investigations regarding the violations committed by the U.S. airforce with regard to the allowable flying zones of their crafts.