Twelve units of U.S. Military Osprey arrived by cargo ship in the U.S base in Iwakuni in western Japan. They will be deployed to Okinawa later in the year and will be based at Futenma, an air base near the crowded part of Okinawa. Residents are protesting the air base and wants it closed down.
According to a U.S. statement, the Ospreys is “a vital component in fulfilling the United States’ commitment to provide for the defence of Japan”. The Ospreys are hybrid aircraft that have a rotor and can take off like a helicopter.
However, Japanese local officials both in Iwakuni and Okinawa dispute that the aircraft are safe, alluding to the Osprey crashes in Morocco and Florida.
Protesters in Iwakuni gathered in small boats to demonstrate as cargo ship containing the Ospreys arrived. Iwakuni Mayor Yoshihiko Fukuda intends to submit a protest to Tokyo. The Japanese government are continuing to face pressure over the U.S. military footprint in Japan.
Many Okinawa residents want to move the air base off the island. The US had agreed to close down the base, but the parties cannot agree on the relocation site.
News source: www.bbc.co.uk