US Osprey aircraft arrive in Japan amid protests

Published Jul 23, 2012 04:36am

People hold placards denouncing the deployment of US military aircraft Osprey MV-22 during a demonstration in front of the Iwakuni City Hall in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi prefecture in western Japan, on July 22, 2012, one day before the arrival of a cargo ship carrying the aircraft to the US Marine base in the city. The Osprey, which is a hybrid aircraft with rotors that allow it take off like a helicopter and engines that can tilt forward, enabling it to fly like an airplane at greater speed than a chopper, was plagued with problems in its early years, in the 1990s but officials say the technical glitches have been overcome.  Washington formally informed Tokyo in late June it would go ahead with a planned deployment of the Osprey aircraft at the marine corps airbase of Futenma near Naha on Okinawa island in October.      JAPAN OUT     AFP PHOTO / Jiji Press
People hold placards denouncing the deployment of US military aircraft Osprey MV-22 during a demonstration in front of the Iwakuni City Hall in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi prefecture in western Japan, on July 22, 2012.  — Photo by AFP

TOKYO: A shipload of the US military's latest transport aircraft has arrived in Japan despite protests over safety concerns.        

Workers began unloading and assembling the 12 MV-22 Osprey aircraft in the city of Iwakuni on Monday.

The US plans to deploy them to Okinawa once they are ready.

Residents and local leaders in Iwakuni and on Okinawa have demanded the plan be scrapped because they say the planes are not safe.

Such concerns boiled over after Osprey crashes in Morocco in April and in Florida last month.

The planes have been used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the United States says they have a solid record. The Osprey can fly like an airplane and has tilting rotors that allow it to take off and land like a helicopter.


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