U.S. and Japanese forces to resume Osprey flights in Japan amid local safety concerns

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TOMIOKA, Japan — The U.S. and Japanese militaries will resume flights of Osprey aircraft successful Japan aft completing basal attraction and training pursuing a fatal clang successful confederate Japan last November, officials said Wednesday.

The Osprey aircraft, which tin return disconnected for illustration a chopper and past alert for illustration an airplane, has had a troubled history, including galore crashes.

Japan’s Defense Ministry said nan 2 countries had discussed nan resumption of Osprey flights successful Japan since nan U.S. Naval Air Systems Command announced past Friday that nan craft was approved to return to service after an “unprecedented” portion nonaccomplishment led to nan deaths of 8 U.S. work members successful nan clang successful Japan.

The entire U.S. Osprey fleet was grounded Dec. 6, a week aft that crash. Japan’s subject besides grounded each of its 14 Ospreys.

Japan’s Defense Ministry said that each of nan U.S. forces will person abstracted return-to-flight schedules and that Japan and nan United States “closely” discussed a timeline for nan resumption of Osprey flights successful Japan. Aircraft that person completed basal attraction and training will return to formation arsenic early arsenic Thursday, nan ministry said.

It said nan clang was caused by a portion problem, not a faulty Osprey design, and that akin problems tin beryllium prevented successful nan early by taking steps to mitigate nan identified cause. It did not supply further details.

The Osprey flights will beryllium constricted to areas astir their bases for nan clip being, nan ministry said, successful an evident effort to reside nan information concerns of residents successful Okinawa, wherever astir of nan U.S. subject Ospreys successful Japan are deployed. There has been vocal guidance location to nan aircraft.

Okinawa is location to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and its 24 MV-22B Ospreys, and wherever half of nan American troops successful Japan are based.

Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki objected to nan planned return to formation operations, saying location was not capable mentation astir nan origin of nan accident. He told reporters Wednesday that he was informed by Japanese defense officials astir nan plan, but nary elaborate mentation was given.

“This is perfectly unacceptable and we cannot let this to happen,” Tamaki said.

He said he planned to inquire some nan Japanese authorities and nan U.S. subject to support Ospreys connected nan crushed until they afloat disclose nan origin and information measures. Okinawa will besides petition scrapping of nan aircraft’s deployment, he added.

In Kagoshima, wherever nan Self-Defense Force’s Ospreys are planned for deployment, prefectural officials cited residents’ information concerns and sought specifications astir nan origin and information measures, but defense officials declined to stock them until nan U.S. subject issues an investigation report, NHK nationalist tv reported.

Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara said nan U.S. had fixed an “adequate” mentation of nan origin of nan clang and provided elaborate accusation astir nan accident.

The clang was nan 2nd fatal Osprey mishap successful months and nan 4th successful 2 years. Before clearing nan Osprey, U.S. officials said they put increased attraction connected its proprotor gearbox, instituted caller limitations connected really it tin beryllium flown and added attraction inspections and requirements that gave them assurance it could safely return to flight.

The officials did not place the specific constituent that failed because nan Air Force’s clang investigation has not been completed, but said they now person a amended — but not complete — knowing of why it failed.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press