The U.S. and Japanese governments are currently discussing the possibility of deploying the MV-22 Osprey aircraft at the U.S. air base in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, before an expected deployment in Okinawa in August.
However, the Japanese Defense Ministry has become concerned about the safety of the Boeing-made tilt-rotor aircraft which can take off and land vertically.
On April 11, an MV-22 Osprey crashed in Morocco, killing two U.S. Marines. The Osprey has a history of technical problems and has been involved in several fatal crashes during test flights.
The Japanese Defense Ministry said it received an official report on the Morocco crash from the Pentagon on Friday, in which it said there were no mechanical flaws in the Osprey, though the report did not specifiy the cause of the accident, NTV reported.
The plan to first test the Osprey in Iwakuni before deploying it at the Futenma base in Ginowan was ordered by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, NTV reported. A Defense Ministry official will visit Iwakuni on Monday to brief local officials.
The planned deployment of the Osprey to Okinawa in August will be the first test of resolve for new Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto. He is already facing opposition from Okinawans who insist the Osprey is too dangerous to be allowed to fly in and out of a heavily populated area.© Japan Today