Okinawa demands investigation into 318 illegal Osprey flights
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.