United States plans to deploy CV-22 Osprey in Japan

United States plans to deploy CV-22 Osprey in Japan

On January 11, Susumu Matayoshi, the head of the Executive Office of the Governor, answered questions asked by the press at the U.S. Department of Defense.

January 13, 2013 Hideki Matsudo of Ryukyu Shimpo reports from Washington D.C.

In a press conference held in the Department of Defense on January 11, Michael Donley, secretary of the United States Air Force, has commented on the plan to deploy the CV-22 Osprey, an air-force variant of the MV-22 Osprey vertical take-off and landing transport aircraft, to the main islands of Japan, and to Okinawa.

Although U.S. officials avoided giving specific details of the deployment such as locations and dates, the expectation is that the U.S. military will start to deploy about 10 of the CV-22 Osprey aircraft to the U.S. Air Force’s Kadena base in Okinawa in about two years, and then complete the deployment within several years.

Susumu Matayoshi, the head of the Executive Office of the Governor, who is now visiting Washington, met Christopher Johnstone, the Pentagon director for Northeast Asia to seek confirmation of the plan. Johnstone said that the United States is considering the deployment, but that it is not written in stone. Matayoshi talked to the press after his meeting with Johnstone, saying, “The Okinawa Prefectural Government cannot allow the deployment because there are concerns among the Okinawan people about the safety of the Osprey.”

Asked whether or not the U.S. military plans to deploy the CV-22 Osprey to Okinawa or other parts of Japan, Michael Donley, secretary of the U.S. Air Force, suggested that the Pentagon is considering that option. While Donley said that he would prefer not to comment on potential locations, he did confirm the plan for deployment. 

After his press conference, a spokesperson for the Department of Defense then modified what Donley had stated, saying that while the U.S. military does plan to deploy the CV-22 in the Asia-Pacific region within several years, the construction of facilities to host the aircraft has not started. The spokesperson went on to say that the plan is not set in concrete, and that the U.S. government has not notified the Japanese government about it.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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