Authorities of Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture, home to several large US military bases, voiced their objections after the United States didn't put a halt to flights of MV-22 Osprey aircraft after a deadly crash of the heli-plane, local media reported Tuesday.
TOKYO (Sputnik) — On August 5, a US Marine Corps Osprey went down near Australia. The US Department of Defense announced Monday that three US Marines have been declared dead following extensive search and rescue efforts after the crash.
Okinawa's Deputy Governor Moritake Tomikawa met with the head of US forces in Okinawa, Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, and expressed his discontent over the fact that the United States had not ceased Osprey flights despite repeated requests from local authorities and residents, the NHK broadcaster reported.
The US military official replied saying that Ospreys are used worldwide, and that Washington does not plan on decommissioning the aircraft, according to the broadcaster.
Even though the Okinawa deputy governor asked the US side to refrain from flying Ospreys at least until the end of the investigation into the Australia incident, a Marine Corps Osprey flew out of the country's Futenma air base in Okinawa on Monday, the broadcaster reported.
US military presence in the Okinawa Prefecture, which is located on a tiny island in the south of the Japanese archipelago and hosts the vast majority of the country's total US military presence, has been a source of repeated controversies in the Asian country. Local residents regularly protest the US presence.
In February, the Okinawa branch of the Naha District Court ordered the Japanese government to pay compensation to local residents for the loud noise from the US aircraft. Plaintiffs specifically sought compensation for disruptions caused by Ospreys, which, according to them, interfered with the daily life and caused harm to their mental health. At the same time, the court rejected the plaintiffs' demand to ban flights of Osprey aircraft in the area.
Since 2007, Osprey aircraft have been involved in at least five crashes and a number of accidents.
This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.