US Air Force mulls Osprey deployment in Tokyo

Featured Japan World - July 30th, 2013

The US Air Force in Japan said it was looking into plans to deploy CV-22 Osprey aircraft at the Yokota Air Base in Tokyo, Japanese broadcaster NHK reports.

Gen. Herbert Carlisle, commander of the US Pacific Air Forces, said they were also mulling the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture.

A fleet of the US Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft have been deployed at the Futenma Air Station in Okinawa, with another 12 to be added in August.

The deployment has drawn opposition from residents due to concerns over the aircraft’s safety record.

At a press conference in Washington on Monday, Carlisle said the Yokota base in a western suburb of Tokyo is a key place for the Air Force’s variant of the tilt-rotor aircraft, which will be used mainly for transport of US Army special unit members.

“Yokota is also in discussion,” Carlisle said. “We have to work with the government of Japan for a final decision.”

Discussions on the deployment are underway and the aircraft would possibly be deployed by 2015 following a final decision early next year, according to Carlisle.

Deploying the Osprey in Yokota will be the first stationing of the such aircraft in mainland Japan, reports Kyodo News.