US resumes Osprey flights in Japan after deadly crash


Tokyo: the U.S. military resumed on Thursday osprey flights In JapanA local official said, the end of three months grounding of tilt-rotor aircraft Following the latest in a series of fatal accidents.
However, the move sparked anger in the southern Okinawa region, where most US forces are based, with the governor saying worried locals had not been given adequate explanations.
An American Osprey crashed in Japan in late November, killing all eight on board, and a decision was taken to ground the planes worldwide the following month.
“We confirmed clearly from this (city hall) building that an Osprey took off at 8:54 a.m. (Wednesday 23:54 GMT),” an official from Ginowan, which hosts Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa, told AFP. Was filling.”
It comes after the US military said last week it would lift the grounding after “a careful and data-driven approach that prioritizes the safety of our airmen.”
Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) said “maintenance and procedural changes have been implemented to address the material failure” that led to the accident, “to allow a safe return to flight”.
And on Wednesday, Japan's Defense Ministry said both its Self-Defense Forces and U.S. forces in Japan could gradually resume Osprey flights starting Thursday.
The ministry said “there are no problems with the design and structure of the Osprey” and that the accident was caused by a malfunction of specific parts of the aircraft.
– 'extreme anger' –
The local government in Okinawa Prefecture, where most of the 54,000 U.S. military personnel in Japan are based, has long been unhappy with Osprey operations.
Governor Denny Tamaki told reporters on Wednesday, “We are…extremely angry that reports of resumption of flights broke before any explanation was given to local people.”
“We call on the U.S. military and the Japanese government not to resume flights until they clarify the cause and response to the accident and remove the Ospreys from Okinawa,” he said.
The Osprey aircraft – which can take off and land vertically like a helicopter and also take off like an airplane – have suffered several fatal crashes, including a crash in northern Australia last August that killed three. US Marines were killed, and another accident occurred in Norway in 2022. Due to which four people died.
Three Marines also died in 2017 when another Osprey crashed off Australia's northern coast and 19 Marines died when their Osprey crashed during exercises in Arizona in 2000.
The United States temporarily grounded the aircraft in Japan after an Osprey crashed in Okinawa in 2016, again sparking anger among locals.
Government spokesman Yoshimasa Hayashi said Thursday that not all Ospreys would resume service immediately.
“Only those vetted for safety through maintenance and training will be allowed to resume operations one by one to prevent recurrence of the accident,” he told reporters.
Hayashi said, “This incident caused a lot of trouble to nearby residents and we take it very seriously. It is true that some municipalities have strongly criticized it.”
But he vowed to fully explain the move to local authorities and “continue to try to allay their fears”.

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