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Deployment of Osprey to Yokota raises concern

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10/5/2018 8:20:38 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Deployment of Osprey to Yokota raises concerns among locals
Five U. S. CV-22 Osprey transport aircraft were officially deployed to Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo on Oct. 1, Heightening concerns among residents over safety and increased flights from late at night to early morning.
The deployment was greeted by about 100 protesters chanting at a park facing the base on the morning of Oct. 1.
"Ospreys, Get out of Yokota! " they shouted.
As the CV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft are specially fitted for the U. S. Air Force, Mainly for its special operations, Their capabilities for nighttime and low-level flights have been boosted.
Consequently, It is expected that such operational training will increase at Yokota, Compared to the MV-22 Osprey assigned to U. S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture. Up to 10 Ospreys are scheduled to be deployed to Yokota in the future.
Since April, Visual sightings have spotted the CV-22 landing and taking off at least 223 times in the name of "stopping temporarily" at Yokota Air Base, Located in Fussa and five other municipalities. The number is expected to increase further after the official deployment.
The CV-22 first landed at Yokota in April. Since then, Those aircraft have continued their landings. According to data published by Fussa and confirmed by the North Kanto Defense Bureau, Ospreys landed 10 times in April, Five times in May and 16 times in June.
Since late July, Ospreys were sighted on consecutive days, And the number of sightings increased to 55 times, Followed by 81 times in August and 56 times in September.
Those Ospreys have traveled back and forth over a wide area including U. S. Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture, U. S. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture, And the Higashi-Fuji training range of the Ground Self-Defense Force in Shizuoka Prefecture, According to the reports.
Based on the movements, Eyewitness sightings and inquiries have been pouring in from local residents living in surrounding areas where complaints had never been received regarding U. S. Military aircraft.
Since June, 16 Osprey sightings have been reported in Hachioji, Western Tokyo. The city assembly unanimously adopted a written statement in September calling for safety measures and a request for information because the aircraft had flown above the city both at day and night.
Akiruno, In western Tokyo, Started seeking collaborations with nearby municipalities in calling for equal access to information that is provided to the six municipalities that host the base.
"The government provides information only by documents, And the timing is delayed compared with the surrounding six municipalities, " it said.
Local residents are also concerned of a possible increase in flights late at night and in the early morning hours.
As visual investigations have been conducted only during daytime hours at Yokota, Landings and takeoffs of Ospreys have not been confirmed at night and early morning.
In Okinawa Prefecture, 24 Ospreys are currently stationed in a deployment approved in 2012. The Okinawa Defense Bureau has investigated around the clock how many times the aircraft have landed and taken off from Futenma and how many times they have circled above the air station or passed through, In response to requests from local residents.
In fiscal 2017, Flights of Ospreys were confirmed 2, 300 times, An average of 6. 3 times per day. Of these, 170 were between 10 p. M. And 6 a. M. , Which is the time period that the U. S. -Japan agreement limits to "necessary" flights.
Toshihiro Yoshida, A journalist who is knowledgeable about the Japan-U. S. Status of Forces Agreement, Said, "Japan will be chosen as a training site for special operations and Yokota Air Base will be the hub.
"Japan"s skies will be used freely for the purpose of U. S. Wars, Which would lead to Japan indirectly being a victimizer. This situation is what has been discussed for a long time in Okinawa since the Vietnam War, Which should be questioned even more. "

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