Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda made an official statement on Monday that he and the government have no other choice but to accept the United States’ plans to deploy the MV-22 Osprey military aircraft in Okinawa later this year. This is in direct opposition of the fierce, widespread opposition from local residents over safety issues regarding the aircraft. Noda explained that The U.S. government makes its own decisions regarding the military base in Okinawa, and the Tokyo government has no control over their actions.
The concerns from residents of Okinawa Prefecture, as well as in the city of Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, where the MV-22 Osprey aircrafts were to be assembled and tested this month, comes from two accidents involving the aircrafts in Morocco and Florida. The U.S. military has repeatedly stated that the accidents were due to pilot error, and not mechanical malfunction. Prime Minister Noda stated that the Japanese government would confirm the aircraft’s safety before their test flights begin later this month in Iwakuni.
This is going to do little to assuage the local’s anger at the situation. Many residents of Okinawa already feel the U.S. military is free to do as it pleases with little accountability to local leaders, or Japan’s central government. The latest development prior to this was that the Osprey aircrafts would continue to be delivered to Yamaguchi Prefecture, but wouldn’t be put into use until the two countries could agree on their safety. Now it appears that Tokyo is simply catering to what the U.S. military says it wants, and is yet another example of the Japanese government going against the wishes of its people, just as with the restart of the nuclear reactors.