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Air Force plans to deploy planes in Japan

Jan. 13, 2013 at 5:01 PM

TOKYO, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A U.S. government official said the Air Force plans to deploy Osprey planes in Okinawa, but a Japanese official said Okinawa would never agree to such a plan.

Michael Donley, the U.S. Air Force secretary, said the CV-22 Ospreys likely would be deployed at Kedena Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture, Tokyo's Yomiuri Shumbun reported Sunday.

Susumu Matayoshi, an Okinawa prefectural spokesman told Christopher Johnstone, director for Northeast Asia at the U.S. Department of Defense, that Okinawa Prefecture would never agree to the planes' deployment.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera Friday said Washington had not informed it of plans for such deployment.

"Any deployment of the Air Force CV-22 to the Asia-Pacific region is years away. ... The United States has not notified the government of Japan about the CV-22 because we have not made a basing decision," the Pentagon later said.

Japan raised safety concerns about the CV-22 after one of the planes crashed in Florida during a training mission in June, the newspaper reported.

Washington gave Tokyo a report saying the crash was not due to mechanical defects, but rather was caused by human error, the newspaper reported.

"I would like to tell (the U.S. side) that they should act after carefully considering the feelings of Okinawans," said Onodera.

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