Resist purchase of the Osprey

Naha, Okinawa

As for the Oct. 31 Kyodo article “Some officials argue for equipping (Self-Defense Forces) with Ospreys“: As if to thumb its nose at Okinawa’s vociferous opposition to deployment of the Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, the central government is examining whether it can equip the SDF with the Osprey. It is said that the Foreign Ministry, which has no jurisdiction over defense matters, is intent on purchasing the Osprey while the Defense Ministry dithers.

I can’t help feeling that U.S. pressure on Tokyo to buy the aircraft has begun at last. Regardless of the issue on which Washington pressures Tokyo, Japanese bureaucrats resist at first, or at least try to, but Washington knows well that it eventually will win and dictate terms. So, probably, Tokyo will decide to buy the Osprey.

There are two motivations for Washington to pressure Tokyo: (1) Washington wants to recoup the enormous costs invested in developing the Osprey by selling as many aircraft (at up to $100 million per aircraft) as possible to Tokyo; and (2) Washington’s covert aim is to calm the fears that Japanese people harbor about the Osprey (because of its allegedly spotty safety record) so that it can make not only Okinawa but also mainland Japan the U.S. Marines’ freewheeling training grounds with the Osprey.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

yoshio shimoji