[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
Japan bans US war planes over safety concerns
Prime Minister says flights of MV-22 Osprey aircraft must wait until investigations into recent crashes are complete.
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2012 07:29
Issue has become rallying point for those who oppose existence of US base on Japanese soil [AFP]

Japan's prime minister says that he will not allow the US military to fly its newest transport aircraft in his country until safety concerns are first addressed.

Yoshihiko Noda told parliament on Tuesday that no flights of the MV-22 Osprey aircraft would be allowed to take place until investigations into two recent crashes were completed.

The crashes took place in April and June, and Japan says that it will not allow them to operate over its airspace and from its soil until the government is satisfied that safety checks have been completed.

The deployment of the MV-22s to a US military base on the island of Okinawa has become a political headache for the Japanese government due to intense local opposition.

Okinawa hosts more than half of the roughly 50,000 US troops in Japan. The deployment of the aircraft has become an issue for anti-US protesters to rally around.

The first 12 Ospreys headed for Okinawa arrived in Japan on Monday.

The Osprey is a hybrid aircraft with rotors that allow it to take off like a helicopter and engines that can tilt forward, enabling it to fly like an airplane at higher speed than helicopters.

The aircraft's development was plagued with issues in its early years in the 1990s, but US officials say the technical glitches have been cleared up.

It is used by the US marines, primarily as a troop transport aircraft, allowing soldiers on the ground greater range than current transport helicopters offer.

249

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
In Brussels, NGO staff are being trained to fill the shortfall of field workers in West Africa.
Lawsuit by 6-year-old girl, locked up for a year, reignites debate over indefinite detention of 'boat people'.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Citizens of the tiny African nation say they're increasingly anxious of the fallout after alleged coup.
A humanitarian crisis and a budget crisis converge in the heart of the human smuggling corridor in Texas.
join our mailing list