Okinawa Prefectural Assembly unanimously adopts a resolution of protest against Osprey deployment and demands the withdrawal of the deployment plan

July 15, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

At a regular meeting on July 14, the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly (Chairman Zenshin Takamine) unanimously passed a resolution and statement of protest against and demand of withdrawal of plans to deploy the MV-22 Osprey vertical takeoff and landing transport aircraft to U.S. Marine Corps Air Station (USMCAS) Futenma. It is the first time that the assembly has adopted a resolution and statement of protest against the Osprey deployment.

On July 15, members of the Assembly will visit the Consulate General of the United States, the Okinawa Area Coordinator’s Office of U.S. Forces and other organizations to deliver the resolution and statement.

In the resolution of protest, the statement from the assembly touched on the fact that Osprey aircraft have crashed repeatedly both in the developmental stage and in service. They criticized the U.S. Forces stating that, “The level of noise pollution around the base will clearly increase if the Osprey is deployed. U.S. military officials insist that the Osprey is quieter and safer than the CH-46 (now in service at USMCAS Futenma), but it exceeds the CH-46 in maximum noise level at both take-off and landing.”

The assembly indicates that USMCAS will step up training drills for pilots when the Osprey is deployed. “Local residents and people at the elementary school next to the air station are concerned about noise pollution, environmental issues and the fear of possible crashes of aircraft,” an assembly member said.

With regard to the deployment plan, “This is a serious problem that impacts upon human life,” the assembly stated, but the assembly strongly criticized the stance of the central government, stating, “The government has only given a verbal report on it to the Okinawa Prefectural Government and the municipalities involved and it is not clear whether an assessment will be carried out. The government sees it only as a model change for the aircraft.”

In addition, the assembly called for a withdrawal of the Osprey deployment plan, stating that, “The fait accompli that the both governments try to unilaterally force upon residents runs contrary to the wishes of the people of Okinawa. The residents want to eliminate the risk as quickly as possible.”
The statement will be sent to Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and the Defense Minister of Japan. The resolution of protest will also be sent to U.S. Ambassador and U.S. military commanders in Japan.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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