Japanese protest invasion of US planes
July 23, 2012
The US military’s Osprey aircraft have arrived in Japan despite public protests against their deployment after recent crashes raised safety concerns.
Protesters in a dozen small boats shouted slogans as the shipment of MV-22s were unloaded from a cargo ship at the US Marines’ base in the western city of Iwakuni.
The aircraft will ultimately be sent to Futenma airbase in Okinawa where a separate protest was also held today.
Residents and regional officials have voiced safety concerns following two crashes involving Osprey aircraft this year including one in Morocco in which two Marines were killed.
The June 13 crash, which left five U.S. Air Force personnel injured, followed another accident in Morocco in April that killed two U.S. Marines, and also came just a day after the Japanese government had stressed the safety of the aircraft to Okinawa prefectural officials based on a U.S. military report.
“This confirms that Ospreys could crash at any time,” said Toshio Takahashi, secretary-general of the anti-U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma group Futenma Bakuon Soshodan (Futenma noise legal action group), which organized a sit-in in protest. “We just can’t recognize the deployment (of Ospreys to Okinawa),” he added.