Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Friday that the U.S. military has been conducting Osprey training flights after 10 p.m. in Okinawa, despite an agreement with the Japanese government not to do so.
Twelve MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft are based at the U.S. Marines air base at Futenma, with another 12 due to be deployed later in the summer.
Onodera said the original agreement with the U.S. government stipulated that Osprey training flights would not be held between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., TV Asahi reported. The Osprey were observed flying after 10 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, Onodera told reporters.
Okinawan government officials have lodged a complaint and Onodera said he will ask the U.S. side for further information on the drills.
Earlier this month, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto and Osaka Gov Ichiro Matsui offered to ease the base-sharing burden on Okinawa by inviting the U.S. military to hold Osprey flight drills at Yao airport in the prefecture.© Japan Today