Okinawan students vet Osprey

Ginowan, Okinawa

Regarding the June 20 article “Okinawa governor opposes Osprey deployment“: This semester I am teaching “Current Affairs in English” at Okinawa International University. Almost all of the students in my class are English majors, and many view the U.S. military presence in Okinawa in a positive light.

On the other hand, they all disagree with the proposition made in a Tokyo-based newspaper’s recent article that “The Osprey’s capabilities are ideal for Okinawan deployment.” (The MV- or CV-22 Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft.) Here are a few of their comments:

“No matter what the reason was for the latest crash (June 13 in Florida), mechanical or otherwise, the aircraft crashed. We’d like to say ‘a crash is a crash.”

“We can’t agree to deploying the Osprey in Okinawa because the Osprey is so dangerous and noisy. Many people have already been killed in Osprey crashes, and we don’t know why the military wants to deploy the aircraft.”

“They are saying the Ospreys are an attractive [proposition] even though there are so many accidents. The [editors of the article] don’t have to worry because Osprey deployment is not for their prefecture or region. It’s so irresponsible. I didn’t really care about the (2004) crash at OKIU, but now I’m here and I’m hoping we won’t have that kind of accident [again].”

“If the Ospreys go to war from Okinawa, Okinawa will be in danger because it could become a target for enemies of the U.S.”

“If the Ospreys come to Okinawa, the military issue will become more complicated, and it will be even more difficult to move the [Futenma] base from Okinawa.”

“The Osprey does not have an AR (autorotation) function, which helps an aircraft to land safely.”

“Can you imagine — an unstable aircraft flying over your head while you’re studying?”

We often hear politicians’ opinions on this issue. It would be wonderful if also the opinions of ordinary people, such as my students, were featured in the national press.

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.

peter simpson