U.S. Osprey aircraft to arrive in Japan next week despite protests
In this Sunday, June 10, 2012 file photo, a Marine MV-22 "Osprey" tilt-rotor aircraft lands at Voinovich Park in downtown Cleveland. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Published Friday, July 20, 2012 8:45AM EDT
TOKYO -- Japan's Defence Ministry says the first U.S. Osprey military transport aircraft will arrive in Japan on Monday despite opposition from residents over safety issues following two recent crashes.
The 12 Ospreys will be assembled at a Marine base in Iwakuni in western Japan before being deployed to the southern island of Okinawa for use by U.S. forces there.
Iwakuni Mayor Yoshihiko Fukuda expressed disappointment Friday that the Tokyo government was not responsive to the deep concerns of local residents and urged authorities to stop the deployment process.
Last month, an U.S. Air Force Osprey crashed in Florida, injuring all five airmen aboard. A crash in Morocco in April left two Marines dead.
The aircraft combines airplane-like wings with rotors that allow it to take off and land like a helicopter.