Two more Ospreys arrive at Futenma


The U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa said two more Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft arrived Saturday at the Futenma base from Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

The Ospreys, part of a batch of 12, were expected to fly out of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni on Saturday morning, but the U.S. military delayed their departure, saying requirements for the flight had not been met. It denied there were any technical problems with the aircraft.

The 12 Ospreys, which can take off and land like a helicopter and fly like an airplane, are the second batch to be deployed to Japan, following the arrival of the first dozen last summer.

The aircraft is replacing aging CH-46 helicopters in Okinawa, which hosts the bulk of U.S. military forces in Japan.

According to the U.S. Marines, two or more Ospreys were set to fly to U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Saturday and the rest would follow soon.

Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima has repeatedly called for the cancellation of the deployment in his prefecture due to the aircraft’s history of crashes and other safety concerns.

About 200 people staged a rally Saturday morning, with about 60 of them taking part in a sit-in in front of the Futenma main gate to protest the Osprey deployment. Due to their actions, traffic in and out of the base was temporarily halted starting at around 7 a.m.

Local police removed the protesters at around 9:30 a.m. and arrested one man for obstructing officers in their duties after he grabbed an officer by the collar and tore buttons off his uniform.

The protesters moved to a site across from the gate.

  • 2nd generation panda

    Why the hell these guys yelling when the Opsprey are supposed to be there to protect them

    • Matt

      That’s because they don’t hear about the success rates about the Ospreys. Yes, at the beginning stages they were terribly reliable but now there are more reliable than helicopters (or so I’ve heard soldiers say). Someone should “update” these people in recent stats lol

  • Osprey is not in Japan to defend Japan, just for rescuing US citizens when something urgent happened near the area, by Marines, which is what Marines is depolyed for in the first place, it’s obvious.
    US should have brought this chopper in, after they decided to use it in the same way in their homeland as well, with enforcing lower flight, flying near or over the town where people live.
    Otherwise, which simply means that a Japanese citizen’s life is lighter than a US citizen’s one.
    First of all, US citizens seem to be hardly aware of how Osprey’s used in Japan, or even which is brought in Japan, not so many results to get in search, with US forum.
    They have to know what their taxes are actually spent for, or how far it has distance from what they usually care most, human rights.

    • ff

      These types of military aircraft where used in Operation Tomodachi, where the US saved many Japanese during the 3/11 disaster. The US military are to protect and defend American AND Japanese .

      • Thank you for your response.
        I’m not thinking Marines in Okinawa are “never” going to rescue any Japanese, if my text made you uncomfortable, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.
        And I appreciate their devotion on the earthquake, I believe that each of them was truly sincere.
        But I don’t think they rescue Japanese “first” or “second”, which is hard for me to believe in.
        Since I had heard about it on some CSTV program, according to Shunji Taoka a military analyst, Marines in Okinawa do have their duty in rescuing priority, that says first ones to rescue should be US citizens, next to be valued white people (as literally he said), then people belonged to the countries but Japan allied with US, we might be after them if we were listed in.
        Also he said the presence of Marines in Okinawa is not meant for guarding the region, maybe from China, not prepared to do so in the first place, though I still don’t think that China’s in intent to make an actual clash with Japan.
        So far I rather rely on his professional view.
        My concern is mostly how USA take our human rights to be, what if they do it as same as with US citizens, if it’s so, why would they fly Osprey lower, or near the people like this, burning the Yanbaru forest with its exhaust, which they don’t do in their homeland.
        Osprey might be a quite different aircraft from others, as its looking tells, which almost Japanese are thinking about, and scared of, especially with people of Okinawa.
        At least they don’t want Osprey to be there.
        I just want to be treated well to a certain degree as when they do with US citizens, only in the meaning of weight of life with no other demand, but apparently they’re not shown it yet, as to see Osprey.

  • robpott

    Panda-san, I guess you mean Japanese people in general when you say “these guys”. Unfortunately for people who like generalizations, “these guys” don’t really exist.

    Certainly the anti-Osprey crowd in Okinawa don’t belong to that group. You’ll probably find they are anti-US bases in the first place. And those people don’t feel that they have ever been or will ever be protected by the US or Japan, which, given the history and reality on the ground, makes quite a lot of sense to me.

    A potted history of Okinawa’s last 130 years could be read: Annexed and culturally suppressed by Japan, sacrificed in the Pacific War by Japan with a quarter of Okinawans killed, made into the USA’s East Asia base and launchpad for the Vietnam War, used to store Agent Orange, fired at with depleted uranium shells, had forests burnt in war games, had its women raped by soldiers, schools crashed into by military planes, and had its democratically elected officials voices ignored by the central government in Tokyo.

    And meanwhile not enough of “those guys”, the general Japanese population not living in Okinawa, know enough or care enough to work towards righting the injustice. But then Okinawa’s pretty far away and it’s easier to think about it as a nice place to go and relax on the beach.

    So Matt-san, whether or not Ospreys are safe or not is almost a moot point, but according to Wikipedia they don’t sound so safe even now….
    And I’m not sure how you managed to get from “so I’ve heard soldiers say” anecdotal evidence to “recent stats”….

    And Nancy, I too do not believe that the US keeps its bases in Okinawa to protect Okinawans. Does anyone actually believe that? That story would be beautiful though. A country goes to war with another, defeats it, and then sets up loads of bases there to protect that country. Does anyone believe that all the NATO bases in Germany set up after WW2 were to protect Germans?