The U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa said on Tuesday that the MV-22 Osprey at the Futenma Base may be dispatched to the Senkaku Islands if needed. According to Lt. Gen. John Wissler, the commanding general of the U.S. Marines in Okinawa, the tilt-rotor aircraft can reach the disputed islands as reinforcement.
“That aircraft has the ability to reach the Senkakus, should we need to support any sort of Japan-U.S. security treaty,” claimed Wissler during the Tuesday meeting, which was also attended by Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima. Although the general did not comment on the dispute between China and Japan, his statement was taken to imply that the U.S. is ready to deploy support for the latter. It may even be reckoned as an unspoken answer to the frequent presence of Chinese vessels around the Senkakus, which they call Diaoyu.
The Okinawa governor, to whom Wissler’s message was directly addressed, has not yet given his response to the U.S. Marines’ proposal. However, Nakaima reminded that the “citizens’ concerns have not been cleared up” and his disapproval for the Ospreys in the island stands. Residents of Okinawa have been protesting against the presence of the military aircraft especially with the recent accident when a US military helicopter crashed in Okinawa last month.
[via Kyodo News]
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