Thursday, October 15, 2020

Japan deploys new V-22 Osprey aircraft to Chiba amid protests

Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) deployed the first V-22 Osprey aircraft to Camp Kisarazu in Chiba Prefecture amid safety protests in Saga.

The newest Osprey arrived at the Camp Kisarazu, east of Tokyo, where the government plans to home the 17 Ospreys for up to five years until they are permanently deployed to an airport in Saga Prefecture.

The U.S.-made aircraft landed at the camp shortly after 4 p.m. on Friday, after a four-day delay due to bad weather.

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The Defense Ministry says the GSDF will start flights of the craft as early as August, but that it may start with basic, on-base training and expand the flight area in phases, taking into account strong local concerns about the aircraft’s safety.

People living in a densely populated residential area near another GSDF camp where the Ospreys are expected to fly to have expressed concerns.

A woman living in a condo near the camp said she’s worried about possible accidents and aircraft noise.

She voiced concerns that an object falling from the craft as it flies over the area could cause an accident.

The woman said that she wants the defense ministry to provide residents with enough information.

Last month, mayors of three cities over which the Ospreys are expected to fly asked the defense minister for detailed explanations about planned operations of the craft.

Saga Gov. Yoshinori Yamaguchi has said the prefecture will use part of the ¥10 billion ($93 million) in landing fees it will collect from the central government over 20 years to support local fishermen concerned about the impact that noise from the aircraft will have on their businesses.

Photo by Cpl. Lauren Brune

Photo by Cpl. Lauren Brune

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Executive Editor

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