Japan declares U.S. V-22 Osprey safe to deploy to Okinawa base
News On Japan via -- Sep 19
Japan declared the V-22 Osprey vertical take-off aircraft safe, clearing the way for the U.S. to deploy them to a Marine Corps base on the southern island of Okinawa in the face of local opposition.
Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba and Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto made the announcement in Tokyo today, after months of discussion with the Obama administration about the causes of accidents involving the aircraft. The decision came two days after U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta met with both men in Tokyo.
While the Pentagon shipped 12 of the tilt-rotor aircraft to Japan in July, sending them to Okinawa was delayed amid local protests. A deal to relocate an American base from one part of Okinawa to another over the objections of local residents has increased tensions on the island, which is home to 75 percent of the U.S. military presence in Japan.
The deployment will probably be next month, Morimoto told reporters.
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