[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
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.