Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera met Saga Governor Yasushi Furukawa in the prefectural capital of Saga on Monday to try once again to get support for a Defense Ministry plan to deploy some of the U.S. military's tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey aircraft to Kyushu.
Onodera visited Saga earlier this month but was unable to get support for the plan due to local opposition.
Onodera told Furukawa that the central government is willing to pay for the cost of acquiring land and building accommodation for U.S. military personnel near the airport, Sankei Shimbun reported.
The government wants Saga to allow the Ospreys to conduct training drills as a way of easing the burden on Okinawa where they are currently deployed.
Furukawa said the local government has been getting many inquiries from local residents about the safety of the low-altitude aircraft flying over heavily populated areas. He said Tokyo has still not clearly explained why Saga had been chosen.
Despite strong opposition from local residents, the Japanese government in 2012 approved the deployment of the Ospreys after receiving security assurances from the Pentagon.
U.S. military officials say the hybrid aircraft which can take off and land like a helicopter, is critical for regional security efforts.© Japan Today