Okinawa opposes Osprey deployment

July 9, 2013 at 10:09 AM
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CAMP FOSTER, Japan, July 9 (UPI) -- Okinawa government officials said they have asked Tokyo to stop the deployment of a second squadron of U.S. Marine Corps Osprey aircraft to the island.

Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima made the plea to Fumio Kishida, the minister of foreign affairs, Monday, and plans to meet with Japan's defense minister Tuesday during a visit to the capital, Stars and Stripes said.

The appeal comes after the Marine Corps confirmed last month that a dozen MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft would arrive for testing at the Marine Corps Air Station near Hiroshima at the end of July.

After the testing, the Ospreys would be permanently deployed to Okinawa, Stars and Stripes said.

The arrival of the first squadron last fall sparked months of protests over safety concerns and Nakaima told Kishida Monday those worries have not been addressed.

Early last year, two Marines were killed in an Osprey crash in Africa and Air Force members were injured in another crash in Florida.

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