U.S. military to deploy more Osprey to Okinawa

April 30, 2013 Ryota Shimabukuro of Ryukyu Shimpo reports from Washington D.C.

In a meeting held at the Department of Defense in the afternoon of April 29, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and the U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that 12 more MV-22 Osprey aircraft will be deployed to the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma this summer. The U.S. military deployed the first squadron of Osprey to the base last October. They also announced that they will carry out the relocation of Futenma Air Station to the Henoko district of Nago and the U.S. Forces Realignment Plan including moving Marines from Okinawa to Guam.

The U.S. military plans to locate the Osprey at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni before their deployment to Futenma Air Staion.

In the meeting, Onodera and Hagel confirmed that they will take several years to review the U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation Guidelines that were revised in 1997. The U.S. and Japanese governments will consider how best to implement bilateral defense cooperation and clarify the allocation of roles.

With regard to the Senkaku Islands dispute, Hagel stated that while the U.S. government will not advocate a particular position it will oppose any movement to alter the status quo because Japan administers the islands and protection of this territory comes under the requirements of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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