Okinawa demands investigation into 318 illegal Osprey flights

NAHA —

The Okinawan government has formally requested an investigation into the legality of 318 flights made by the U.S. military in Osprey tilt-rotor MV-22 transport aircraft over Okinawa.

According to media reports, over 60% of the flights made since October were made in violation of the safety rules agreed on by Tokyo and Washington since the contentious deployment in October of 12 Osprey aircraft, NTV reported. Okinawa Gov Hirokazu Nakaima said Wednesday that a formal written request was made to the central government in Tokyo via the Defense Ministry’s Okinawa Bureau, on Tuesday, calling for an investigation into the use of Osprey aircraft in the prefecture and into the alleged breaches of the joint Japan-American safety rules.

The prefectural government and 27 municipalities hosting U.S. bases in the prefecture asserted that there were 517 Osprey flights in October and November. According to observers, 318 of them appeared to violate the new flight safety regulations, NTV reported. Banned activities include flying the MV-22s in vertical take-off and landing mode over residential areas, and flights later than 10 p.m.

The news comes days after members of more than 100 labor, civic and other rights groups held a rally in Ginowan, Okinawa to protest the deployment of the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, as well as a series of crimes committed by U.S. troops.

Japan Today

  • -6

    globalwatcher

    Hope US is smart enough to get out. We are not welcomed in Japan.

  • 3

    proxy

    On the positive side; none of them crashed.

  • 4

    Deplore

    Banned activities include flying the MV-22s in vertical take-off and landing mode over residential areas

    Kind of defeats the purpose of it being, you know, a helicopter. Is it actually safer to take off and land like a plane?

  • -4

    noriyosan73

    "Safety rules, I don't need no safety rules." Welcome to the wild west!

  • 2

    Takuma7

    "appeared to violate the new flight safety regulations" So they can't tell anyway. Someone got way to much free time on their hands.

  • -2

    basroil

    DeploreDec. 27, 2012 - 04:03PM JST

    Kind of defeats the purpose of it being, you know, a helicopter. Is it actually safer to take off and land like a plane?

    It can't land like a plane with engines parallel to the wing, the rotors are far too large. In fact, vertical landing is probably safer than STOL landing, since more chance of failures with repeated STOL landings. But yes, they might as well just said "don't use this to replace your aging and very dangerous helicopters because we want more things to fall from the sky and kill us (so then we have a reason to kick you out even if you were there before 99% of us)"

  • 9

    Yubaru

    Kind of defeats the purpose of it being, you know, a helicopter. Is it actually safer to take off and land like a plane?

    No the problem is that it appears that most if not all of the accidents that occurred with the Osprey happened when changing from airplane mode to hover mode like a helicopter. It was agreed upon between the US Military and Japanese defense ministry that the Osprey would only make the transition when actually over MCAS Futenma.

    I can personally say that I have seen the Osprey make the transition over populated areas, and yes it is a direct violation of the agreement. Also the night flights occur as well, and have been recorded and shown on local news a number of times.

    In this case I have to agree with the Okinawan Government and their filing of the complaint.

    If the US Military is going to make an agreement stick to it, if they can't do it then ground the things until they can find pilots who will adhere to the agreement.

  • 2

    basroil

    globalwatcherDec. 27, 2012 - 02:44PM JST

    Hope US is smart enough to get out. We are not welcomed in Japan.

    Xenophobic statements are never the answer.

  • -2

    tmarie

    What sad individuals are sitting around counting flights?

  • 5

    Eigen

    DeploreDec. 27, 2012 - 04:03PM JST

    Kind of defeats the purpose of it being, you know, a helicopter. Is it actually safer to take off and land like a plane?

    I think you misunderstand that sentence. They aren't going to be landing in the residential areas. The complaint was that they're in that mode flying over residential areas. They can still transition to vertical-vector thrust over Futenma and land that way.

    I have to agree wholeheartedly with Yubaru's post. I'm not one of the people that screams "US Military get out!" because I respect what they do there. But if they sign the agreement, they should stick to it. That kind of lax policy adherence is disrespectful in an already tumultuous situation! The last thing the US Navy should do is push boundaries in order to pursue their own training regimen.

  • 3

    Tyler Vandenberg

    Under the agreement, the Marine Corps must try to limit flights below 500 feet, make conversions between helicopter and airplane only over U.S. bases, steer clear of landmarks like schools and hospitals, and limit night operations.

    However, the service is obligated to follow the rules only when they are practical and do not conflict with mission requirements or other safety measures, according to the agreement. Gov Hirokazu Nakaima lashed out at the guidelines, saying the agreement language provides loopholes. "The agreement had some items but they had this clause saying 'as much as possible'," he said. "We know that such an agreement does not practically mean anything." (stripes.com)

    First Okinawa Gov Hirokazu Nakaima says the safety regulations are meaningless.

    Now Okinawa Gov Hirokazu Nakaima says they are doing illegal flights. Sounds to me like he is just trying to get Abe to change the rules, but doesn't have the courage ask directly so is going waste all this time looking for "illegal flights" and spend money investigating when the rules put in place by Noda let the Ospreys do anything they need , if its a mission requirement.

    Banned activities include flying the MV-22s in vertical take-off and landing mode over residential areas

    I was not able to find if this was true only thing i saw was making conversions between helicopter and airplane mode over residential areas is not allowed

  • 4

    Yubaru

    I have to agree wholeheartedly with Yubaru's post. I'm not one of the people that screams "US Military get out!" because I respect what they do there. But if they sign the agreement, they should stick to it. That kind of lax policy adherence is disrespectful in an already tumultuous situation! The last thing the US Navy should do is push boundaries in order to pursue their own training regimen.

    Eigen thank you, I am with you on what you wrote here. The military is making things worse for themselves by not adhering to what they agreed upon in the first place. I see nothing wrong with trying to appease their hosts, but then saying one thing and doing another is the same as saying FU.

    BTW it isnt the Navy, it's the Marine Corps.

  • -2

    Yubaru

    What sad individuals are sitting around counting flights?

    Generally speaking I find a lot of what the people who are protesting about the US military in Okinawa to be mundane and childish at best.

    However in this case, and since you obviously do not live here, I find it rather funny that someone would make comments like this about a very serious issue.

  • -4

    cramp

    no crash? no problem

    who cares about the 318 allegedly illegal flights?..

  • 2

    Tyler Vandenberg

    http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/area/usa/sfa/pdfs/jc_mv22_2.pdf

    I found the safety measures you can read them at the link above.

    CLEARLY a political stunt to get Abe's attention. There is no way they could break these rules 318 times even if they where trying too.... about the same as any other aircraft in Okinawa minus the making conversions between helicopter and airplane mode rule

  • -2

    Yubaru

    CLEARLY a political stunt to get Abe's attention. There is no way they could break these rules 318 times even if they where trying too.... about the same as any other aircraft in Okinawa minus the making conversions between helicopter and airplane mode rule

    Dude, come down here to Okinawa. In the past couple of months that the Osprey has been deployed here they have been flying daily. There are iirc 12 birds, and all 12 have been, with a couple of exceptions due to deployment, flying daily.

    One bird in training, doing take-off and landing exercises, can and has, gone against the agreement numerous times during the course of ONE day. Multiply that by 10 or 12 and do the math.

    Night flying as well has been going on almost daily, with repeated training on take-offs and landings as well.

    Typically I do not argue against the military, and believe they should be here, BUT in this case the Marines are wrong for making an agreement that they have not adhered to.

    Please dont criticize about something you only know from afar.

  • -5

    tmarie

    Yubaru, you're right, I don't live there but have experience of military bases. I guess the locals would rather few flights which would up the chances of accidents. Having lived on the end of run ways nearly all my life I can attest that you get used to the noise and everything else that goes with planes.

    And you didn't answer the question. Is isn't childish. Is the okinawan government using tax money to do such a thing or is something that pathetic they do it on their free time? Okinawa has much larger issues than this. Shame they can't be bothered to address them. Crying about GIs is so much easier I guess.

  • 1

    SamuraiBlue

    The reason why the Ospreys are here in the first place is because Japan wants to introduce these tilt rotor planes into the Japanese fleet, namely on the 19,500 ton DDH that is being constructed right now. (JMSDF wants the EV-22 variant and the SV-22 variant)

    The US wants to sell these planes to other nations but due to it's poor test flight reputation there are no nations that operate these planes beside the US of A.

    The two nation's interest meets and that is why the J Government tolerates any and all demand against the out cry by the general populous.

  • 3

    Yubaru

    Yubaru, you're right, I don't live there but have experience of military bases. I guess the locals would rather few flights which would up the chances of accidents. Having lived on the end of run ways nearly all my life I can attest that you get used to the noise and everything else that goes with planes.

    I used to live in Cherry Point too and intimately know the so called "sound of freedom". But then I am American, not Japanese.

    And you didn't answer the question. Is isn't childish. Is the okinawan government using tax money to do such a thing or is something that pathetic they do it on their free time? Okinawa has much larger issues than this. Shame they can't be bothered to address them. Crying about GIs is so much easier I guess.

    My reference to childish was about other "complaints" that are truly mundane, and complaining about them are childish at best. A truck making a u-turn on a special needs children's school driveway, a military vehicle scratching a bolt on an over pass walkway......numerous other examples available as well, and all mundane and childish.

    What sad individuals are sitting around counting flights?

    Sad individuals? Hmmm....people who are fighting for their cause? You call that sad? While I may not agree with their stance I do have to give them credit for their persistence.

  • 2

    Tyler Vandenberg

    @ Yubaru

    the Marines are only obligated to follow the rules only when they are practical and do not conflict with mission requirements (what the joint US Japan operational guidelines say not my words)...... meaning if they crew needs the training they can do it as much as they want until the training is done. I'm telling you these are guidelines and are not very strict, Okinawa Gov Hirokazu Nakaima even said the rules had loopholes that made them meaningless...

    Night training flights are limited to the minimum required to fulfill assigned US Forces Japan missions and maintain aircrew proficiency. Unit Commanders will exert every effort to complete night flying operations as early as practical. The USG will minimize the impact of MV-22 night training flights on the communities surrounding Futenma Air Station (from the operational guidelines) They are required therefore a mission requirement and don't break the joint guidelines same goes for touch and go training (take off and landing practice) its a NATOPS req. they have to do it therefore it doesn't break the rules.

    All I'm saying is the Marine Corps isn't breaking any rules and if you don't like the current rules you should ask to have them changed instead of trying to make the news with made up "illegal Osprey flights" did they contact the base to see if it was a mission requirement? Of course not b/c they don't care about "illegal flights" they don't want to check they just want to make drama so Abe will do something instead of asking him directly like I said before only a political stunt.

    Now with this in mind : the military is only obligated to follow the rules when they are practical and do not conflict with mission requirements. Tell me how many times you saw them break the rules?

  • -1

    basroil

    SamuraiBlueDec. 27, 2012 - 08:05PM JST

    The US wants to sell these planes to other nations but due to it's poor test flight reputation there are no nations that operate these planes beside the US of A.

    Actually, the flight reputation is quite outstanding (aside from being harder to learn). It's got the same incidence rate as fixed wing jets and about half that of the CH46 it replaces.

  • 0

    SamuraiBlue

    basroil

    As I had wrote "Test flight" reputation not the overall flight records.

  • -1

    Yubaru

    All I'm saying is the Marine Corps isn't breaking any rules and if you don't like the current rules you should ask to have them changed instead of trying to make the news with made up "illegal Osprey flights" did they contact the base to see if it was a mission requirement?

    The US Military Command in Japan made an agreement with the Japanese Defense ministry regarding the guidelines with which the Osprey would be flying in Okinawa.

    Point blank fact.....The MC has NOT adhered to the agreement.

    No matter the mission requirements or not, the INTERNATIONAL agreement takes precedence and it behooves the MC to follow the agreement. Until they follow the agreement the MC IS breaking the "rules".

    The Japanese government or local Okinawan government has no responsibility to CONTACT MCAS regarding any mission requirements or otherwise. It is the responsibility of the MS and MCAS FUTENMA to notify the Japanese Defense ministry AND more importantly the Okinawan government about any changes to their plans.

    Now with this in mind : the military is only obligated to follow the rules when they are practical and do not conflict with mission requirements. Tell me how many times you saw them break the rules?

    Dude this is JAPAN not America. You have to keep that in mind when making comments like this. The military are GUESTS here in Japan. Mission requirements and changes to them HAVE to be discussed and notification is prudent when working in a foreign country. Japan is NOT the USA.

    How many times have I seen them break the rules?

    In nearly 30 years of living here in Okinawa....too many times to count.

  • 0

    Tyler Vandenberg

    @ Yubaru

    Dude I'm giving you the International agreement that was made: that is what joint US Japan operational guidelines are... they are an agreement made between the Govt of Japan and the US about the Osprey IN JAPAN ONLY. Thats what Gov'ts do they get together and make agreements.....as I provided earlier , but you missed some how http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/area/usa/sfa/pdfs/jc_mv22_2.pdf the link to the Japanese Gov't website( ministry of foreign affairs japan) with the OSPREY safety guidlines..... this is not America ONLY this is a joint Japanese American guideline for the Osprey. In this agreement. you will see " when possible" and "Except as operationally necessary" These are only the rules for the Osprey in Okinawa please read them they are from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I'm not sure where you think I'm talking about Osprey in the US. I'm only talking about rules in Japan only.

  • -3

    tmarie

    They aren't fighting for a cause. They're crying. Over something that needs to be taken up not with the Americans but Tokyo. Funny how that never gets addressed.

    The military aren't freaky guests. They are here under a condition of Japan surrendering. Huge difference and one that Okinawa tends to forget.

    Besides, if the yanks leave, the jeitai will only move in and they'll certainly be more of a pain in the butt.

  • -2

    tmarie

    And the bases ARE considered the USA. USA soil which is why any local just can't rock up to the gates and be allowed in. Same as why kids born on base are Americans, no questions asked.

  • 0

    Tyler Vandenberg

    (From the Website MOFA) The Rules Are:

    1. Both flight and ground operations between the hours of 2200 and 0600 are limited to those considered necessary for US operational requirements. Night training flights are limited to the minimum required to fulfill assigned US Forces Japan missions and maintain aircrew proficiency.

    2. Except as operationally necessary, MV-22s normally fly in vertical take-off and landing mode only within the boundary of US facilities and areas, and will limit the period of conversion mode as much as possible.

    3. While using training navigation routes, the MV-22 will fly at or above 500 feet above ground level, although operational safety may require flying below that altitude.

  • 3

    voiceofokinawa

    globalwatcher (Dec. 27, 2012 - 02:44PM JST):

    You suggest that the US be smart enough to get out of Okinawa. No sweat. The U.S. is way cunning contrary to what you might think. You wrongly assume that the U.S. bases in Okinawa are for the defense of Japan, thus suggesting that U.S. forces get out if they were not welcomed.

    The trick is exactly what we call "otamegokashi." This Japanese compound doesn't have a corresponding entry in an English dictionary. It refers to "an ulterior motive behind someone's kindness" or "string-attached kindness." You cannot say how these U.S. bases are all for our own good when in fact it's the U.S. that is benefiting most. U.S. policy-makers are not stupid at all as you think.

  • 1

    Kazuaki Shimazaki

    @Tyler Vandenberg So, when an American says "as much as possible" or other words to that effect, we should not expect him to try to SOMEWHAT honor the meaning of those words, but for him to treat it as effectively a negation of whatever limitation came before?

    @tmarie While in practice there is some de facto truth to what you say, officially they are guests and no it isn't really US territory. That is why there is a SOFA agreement.

  • 3

    SamuraiBlue

    Tyler Vandenberg

    Although I haven't read the full agreement document to be fair I believe the US is required to post before when and why the flights were required to the Japanese government and/or the Japanese government can request flight schedules beforehand so they can inform the local population.

    In otherwords the pilots does not have a carte Blanc and do whatever they please at any whimsical instant.

  • -1

    Tyler Vandenberg

    @ Kazuaki Shimazaki

    Those are Japan's words. The Gov't of Japan never stated how much was too much, so how should the US know what "as much as possible" or "Except as operationally necessary" or "operational safety may require" Japan never set a limit to any of this. Now Japanese are claiming illegal flights when it was the Japanese Gov't that said "as much as possible".

  • -1

    Tyler Vandenberg

    @ SamuraiBlue The Japanese Gov't does have that option, and yes you do have to schedule the area. Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto said the government would check and confirm how the Ospreys are operated and report any violations of the rules to the U.S. side. so since this isn't coming from the National Gov't who does the checking we know that this is just a political stunt.

  • -1

    japan_cynic

    Illegal? What laws have been broken? Precisely none, I'd bet.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    In this agreement. you will see " when possible" and "Except as operationally necessary" These are only the rules for the Osprey in Okinawa please read them they are from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I'm not sure where you think I'm talking about Osprey in the US. I'm only talking about rules in Japan only.

    So if I read you right then what you are saying is that the US Military and with regards to it's operations regarding the Osprey in Okinawa have "carte blanche" rights to do what ever they want?

    I guess I am not hte "only" one who has not read the agreement fully, the Okinawan politicians and people against the Osprey too are way off base.

  • -3

    BertieWooster

    Nakaima is right.

    An agreement was made and it has been broken.

    Not once but apparently 318 times, and probably more since this article was written.

    Ospreys take off and land at Futenma, which is a base with its landing strip in the middle of a bustling city.

    Military planes taking off and landing at Futenma are so noisy that schools have to have double glazing and even then, lessons are interrupted when one of these things goes overhead.

    For those not living in Okinawa, it would be like having a landing strip in Hibiya Park in Tokyo, or in Central Park in New York.

    There is something very wrong here.

    If it was a wartime situation, one could perhaps understand, but it's not. Only, perhaps in the sense that the "Land of the Free," having made itself created an unholy mess in the Middle East seems have set its sights on turning Asia into the next turmoil.

    How are the Okinawans taking the Osprey situation?

    They feel rather like the US military is extending the middle finger of its right hand.

    That's how it comes across.

    Or perhaps they think that by making an unbearable noise in Futenma, the Okinawans will cave in and let them build their superbase in the North of the island.

  • 1

    Star-viking

    The prefectural government and 27 municipalities hosting U.S. bases in the prefecture asserted that there were 517 Osprey flights in October and November. According to observers, 318 of them appeared to violate the new flight safety regulations

    "Appeared" is such a fuzzy word. As is often the case in these situation the immortal words are required:

    Need More Information!

  • 1

    Wonbatto

    They are here under a condition of Japan surrendering. Huge difference and one that Okinawa tends to forget.

    The US military is present as per the "Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan" signed in 1960. This grew out of a few prior iterations of Security agreements that came out of the surrender, but to say that the US military is still present because of the surrender isn't quite accurate. This is an agreement that Japan could renegotiate but it's worth noting that no major political party in Japan supports this. The fundamentals of the agreement as far as stationing US troops in Japan were not a major issue in the last election.

  • 2

    basroil

    BertieWoosterDec. 27, 2012 - 11:16PM JST

    Not once but apparently 318 times, and probably more since this article was written.

    No, it MAY HAVE BEEN. Article and quoted sources never state that the agreement was ever actually broken.

    One of the biggest reasons is that normal people are incapable of actually telling apart the differences between VTOL mode and STOL mode, since the blades are not perpendicular to the wings in either mode, and from far away it can look the same to untrained eyes. Noise patterns are slightly different, but nowhere near as different as a helicopter and turboprop.

    For those not living in Okinawa, it would be like having a landing strip in Hibiya Park in Tokyo, or in Central Park in New York.

    Good thing NYC has two major airports in residential areas, servicing about a hundred times the plane load, including some noisy things like the 747 that make the CV-22 sound like a ceiling fan. Okinawa has it very well off, considering Futenma is a tiny city built around servicing a base and it's personnel well after the base's establishment. It's like people who built houses around industrial centers so they could live closer to work and then complain about the pollution from the factories, if you do stupid things without thinking them through, don't complain when you find out it was a stupid idea in the first place.

    Better yet, Sapporo has the Okadama Airport just 6km from Sapporo station (compared with well over 6 for Futenma/ Naha), inside a city of a few million (just 300k in Naha) and all flight paths going over the heads of at least a million (flights generally go over a tiny patch, maybe a few thousand people). Yet nobody complains even if there's 13 commercial turboprop (powered by the same T700 engines that power the CH-60 uses, which is about half the power as the Osprey ones) flights a day on top of JSDF helicopters. The the noise is absolutely negligible when there's a plane overhead, simple traffic is louder. And since those planes aren't STOL, they fly lower for longer (and therefore more audible) Any noise complaints about the Osprey are overblown at best, downright meaningless if they move them across the yard to Kadena where the runway is overlooking the sea or just allow VTOL mode above a certain altitude (say 500m outside 2km around base, lower within)

    SamuraiBlueDec. 27, 2012 - 10:30PM JST

    Although I haven't read the full agreement document to be fair I believe the US is required to post before when and why the flights were required to the Japanese government and/or the Japanese government can request flight schedules beforehand so they can inform the local population.

    It's called a flight plan, and aviation rules in Japan mean pretty much everyone needs to have one. However, that doesn't cover landing, approach, and rerouting due to weather or unexpected changes. Also won't do anything other than have people potentially do stupid things like bringing laser pointers and blinding a pilot (who then proceeds to play lawn-mower while completely blinded).

    In otherwords the pilots does not have a carte Blanc and do whatever they please at any whimsical instant.

    No, but the the control tower is a different story. How much do you want to bet that not a single pilot would ignore control tower instructions unless absolutely necessary? It's far less about the pilots doing something unexpected as the control tower asking for something not in the original flight plan.

  • 2

    globalwatcher

    basroilDec. 27, 2012 - 05:36PM JST

    globalwatcherDec. 27, 2012 - 02:44PM JST

    Hope US is smart enough to get out. We are not welcomed in Japan.

    Xenophobic statements are never the answer.

    You guys cannot make us fight for right wingers of Japan.

  • 1

    Guza!

    MV-22s are really cool! shows how technology is coming along, Im suprised japan hasnt come up with mobile suits yet! But the US making flights in residentail areas is pushing it, but then again those incidents could have been because the airspace where they are supposed to fly might have been taken up and who knows with japans airspace. Probably lack of communication between the two or the government is doing secret stuff who knows.

  • 3

    megosaa

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    tmarieDEC. 27, 2012 - 06:11PM JST What sad individuals are sitting around counting flights?

    ones that have families trying to get some sleep? they are pretty loud even during the day. they fly over the path where i work but not where i live, so i would be concern about my safety as well if they were to frequent over my house every so often!

  • 3

    LFRAgain

    The language in the agreement published at the MOFA site suggests pretty strongly that the governor of Okinawa hasn't a legal leg to stand on.

    As Tyler Vandenberg pointed out, the key provisions to be looked at here are the following three:

    1) Both flight and ground operations between the hours of 2200 and 0600 are limited to those considered necessary for US operational requirements. Night training flights are limited to the minimum required to fulfill assigned US Forces Japan missions and maintain aircrew proficiency.

    2) Except as operationally necessary, MV-22s normally fly in vertical take-off and landing mode only within the boundary of US facilities and areas, and will limit the period of conversion mode as much as possible.

    3) While using training navigation routes, the MV-22 will fly at or above 500 feet above ground level, although operational safety may require flying below that altitude.

    The governor is essentially presuming to dictate how many night training flights are the minimum necessary, what circumstances constitute "operational necessity," and what circumstance contribute to operational safety need to fly below 500 feet. It doesn't require much of a stretch of the imagination to assume his answer to all of these would be "zero."

    I've said this before, and I'll say it again: While I agree with Okinawans who are understandably angered by crimes committed by U.S. servicemen, this issue regarding the Osprey deployment in the area finds its roots in something else entirely.

    As another poster pointed out, the issue is one that needs to be hashed out between Okinawa and Tokyo. This is where the ultimate decision regarding U.S. troops in Japan will be resolved. Childish, petty, inexorably tedious griping about everything and anything the U.S. military does, as if the U.S. military could be simply harassed into packing up and leaving, will accomplish very little.

  • 0

    deadbeatles

    The issue of craft-type and the arguable logistics, at best interesting. For most effected, the matter is singular. I agree with 'megosaa'. The singular matter is by any definition; the lack of respect. Absent, it leaves the hole that edges the cancer eating at what solitude remains.

  • 1

    Chubaka

    T-V: Now with this in mind : the military is only obligated to follow the rules when they are practical and do not conflict with mission requirements.

    Young man, I both heard and experienced that disclaimer spin many times in the 14 years I served in US Army Combat Arms units, mostly overseas. That statement comes across as arrogant now as it did then, with respect to how we expect other nations to follow an agreement, but then we do entirely as we wish. Try walking in the shoes of the average Japanese some day and see how that feels.

  • 0

    tmarie

    The US military is present as per the "Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan" signed in 1960. This grew out of a few prior iterations of Security agreements that came out of the surrender, but to say that the US military is still present because of the surrender isn't quite accurate. This is an agreement that Japan could renegotiate but it's worth noting that no major political party in Japan supports this. The fundamentals of the agreement as far as stationing US troops in Japan were not a major issue in the last election.

    Which is exactly my point why Okinawa. There issue is with Tokyo, not the US.

    To-may-toe, to-mah-to for why the military is in Japan. It all came because of the war. A war where the Japanese ravished Okinawa. The US isn't their enemy, Japan still is. Which is exactly why Okinawa gets stuck with the number of vases they have.

    Megosaa, than perhaps those folks shouldn't have iced close to the base? Plenty if areas in Okinawa not close to bases where you can't hear the planes. And as I said, you get used to noise. Just so much fun to cry about rather than take responsibility as to where you bought or rent I guess.

  • -3

    Kazuaki Shimazaki

    One of the biggest reasons is that normal people are incapable of actually telling apart the differences between VTOL mode and STOL mode, since the blades are not perpendicular to the wings in either mode, and from far away it can look the same to untrained eyes. Noise patterns are slightly different, but nowhere near as different as a helicopter and turboprop.

    Oh, I agree that inexpertise may contributed to this type of violation. That is why it is being investigated. Besides, a few photos of said flights, sent to the right people, should settle this part of the issue.

    But what about the agreement on night flights. They might not be able to tell the difference between 60 and 80 degrees on the tiltrotor, but whether they heard an Osprey flying after 10PM is a different matter.

    @LFRAgain @TylerVandenberg It is true this agreement allows wiggle room. Among the more legitimate issues (ignoring the honne issue that Japan relies on America for security and thus is in a weaker position), a clear laying out of the exact circumstances may compromise security by exposing American operational practices (for example, X night hours per month being considered their "minimum")

    However, if we fight this in a fair court (yeah fat chance I know), under the thinking that the operational desires of the military does not have unconditional priority over the rights, privileges and welfare of the civilians, if those apparent violations pan out, there will be enough of the so called prima facie case that the Americans are under obligation to prove that each flight that went outside bounds was the absolute minimum, was operationally necessary (not just desirable) and so on to show they did not break the agreement.

    Look, we all knew the Americans would try to stretch the agreement, to slip in a few flights from Day 1. But is 318 a little too many? Can anybody trust an American again?

  • 1

    LFRAgain

    "there will be enough of the so called prima facie case that the Americans are under obligation to prove that each flight that went outside bounds was the absolute minimum, was operationally necessary (not just desirable) and so on to show they did not break the agreement."

    Good points. Of course, this is dependent almost entirely on how well the governor of Okinawa can press his case that the agreement was broken. It would be quite difficult for him to do so without some sort of subpoena of the U.S. military's operation guidelines for the Ospreys, and I just don't see that happening in a civilian courtroom.

    As for your suspicions regarding the excessiveness of 318 flights, if you look at the math, it's not all that preposterous. Some 517 total flights were noted by Okinawan municipalities over the course of 60 days. That's 8.6 flights per day divvied up among 12 Osprey aircrafts and their respective crews, which works out to 0.71 flights per plane per day.

    With regard to the alleged "illegal" flights, that works out to 0.41 "illegal" flights per day. Unwieldy numbers, I know, but it when you look at it in that context, it doesn't quite suggest a wanton disregard for the spirit of the agreement when more than half the total number of Osprey aircrafts are grounded at any given time.

    In other words, I think the local municipalities’ interpretation of what constitutes a violation of the agreement might be lean a bit towards the liberally interpretive side.

    And to be fair, I'm not surprised. Okinawans never wanted the planes there in the first place, so they're more likely to see what they want to see in order to lend credence to their claims that the U.S. military is reckless and dismissive of the desires of the locals.

    But again, at the risk of sounding tedious, the Okinawans need to take this up with their national government. It goes without saying that while Okinawans may not want the U.S. military there, Japanese national leadership very clearly does.

  • 0

    Tyler Vandenberg

    @Chubaka

    T-V: Now with this in mind : the military is only obligated to follow the rules when they are practical and do not conflict with mission requirements.

    Young man, I both heard and experienced that disclaimer spin many times in the 14 years I served in US Army Combat Arms units, mostly overseas. That statement comes across as arrogant now as it did then, with respect to how we expect other nations to follow an agreement, but then we do entirely as we wish. Try walking in the shoes of the average Japanese some day and see how that feels.

    I'm going to break this down for you again old timer nice and easy. That statement is the Safety agreement from the Gov't of Japan NOT the US MILITARY please read the posts clearly and thoroughly before you try to talk down to me and say the statement is arrogant, I am trying to show that the National Gov't of Japan when the said they would put safety regulations in place pulled a fast one and gave the Osprey this "As Much as possible" guidelines which I linked.... but people are blinded by false perceptions and when you point out CLEAR as day Facts people ignore them and choose to live in denial. Since you want to use your 14 years in the Army I'll ask you this when you want to use a Range (Aircraft) in Japan for training who do you contact............ the Japanese Gov't. Who said they won't check to make sure the Osprey was following the rules... The National Gov't of Japan. So how does the Local Gov't know if they where illegal flights??

  • -3

    Kazuaki Shimazaki

    @LFRAgain .71 flights per day means about 21 flights per month and in the range of 250 flights a year.If we assume each flight averages one hour long, that would be 250 hours a year per plane, on the higher side of typical Western utilization of military aircraft, so they are hardly inactive.

    And they are supposedly cheating for 60%. Stretched out over a year with the above assumptions that would be 150 hours a year.

    @Tyler Vandenberg 1) The document you linked us to was a Memorandum, with a US Major General signing for his side (so they can't even say it was agreed to by some stupid civilian unaware of military realities). So it is no one-sided thing from the Japanese government, but an agreement, and between the SOFA and realistic considerations, anyone can see Japan doesn't hold many hard-power cards over the Marines in this.

    Everyone knows this and ironically it makes the Marines MUCH more to blame. It is one thing to try to weasel out a agreement you were forced to sign, quite another if the agreement was voluntary.

    @Both I think we all can read that document, but If we are to assume it will be legitimately necessary for 60% of the flights to use the "emergency" clauses in the agreement, then the intellectually honest (and ultimately smarter) move is for the Americans to not agree to the Memorandum.

    The Memorandum is a political ploy and if they can't comply with the limits 60% of the time, the locals will find out quickly and the ploy would backfire doubly which is what is happening now. You only lie when you have at least some chance of concealing it.

  • -3

    voiceofokinawa

    Addendum:

    I said in the above post (Dec. 27, 2012 - 10:22PM JST) that "U.S. policy-makers are not stupid at all" as globalwatcher thinks. On the contrary, they are smart as a fox. But let me add that they don't understand their smartness prompted by greed will come back to roost someday when the Japanese public are awaken to know the real picture of this U.S. military presence in Japan (Okinawa). So, are they stupid after all?

  • 0

    voiceofokinawa

    A further explanation of "otamegokashi":

    This Japanese compound doesn't have a corresponding entry in an English dictionary. It refers to "an ulterior motive behind someone's kindness" or "string-attached, greed-motivated kindness." A usual, ubiquitous response to such kindness is, of course, "No thank you." You cannot say how these U.S. bases, let alone the Osprey deployment, are all for our own good when in fact it's the U.S. that is benefiting most. U.S. policy-makers are not stupid at all as you think.

  • -2

    technosphere

    no crash? no problem who cares about the 318 allegedly illegal flights?..

    Native inhabitants of Okinawa. Your attitude shows clearly that they are compltely right organizing protest rallies nearby your bases..

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