The president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations urged the Japanese and U.S. governments on Wednesday to nullify the plan to deploy Osprey military aircraft to Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo.
The deployment of CV-22 Osprey to Yokota “will impose a serious threat on the life and property of people in Japan” as the base is located in the middle of a densely populated area, Susumu Murakoshi said in his statement.
“We cannot overlook the planned deployment as it will go against the spirit of the Constitution,” which recognizes the right of people in the world to live in peace, free from fear and want, Murakoshi said.
The U.S. Defense Department announced in May it will send three CV-22s to Yokota in the second half of 2017 and seven others by 2021, the first deployment on the Japanese mainland of the tilt-rotor aircraft, which in Japan is currently used only in Okinawa.
Citing the deadly crash of an Osprey unit in Hawaii in May and other previous serious accidents involving the aircraft, Murakoshi noted: “Concerns over the safety of the Osprey are greater than ever.”
Currently, 24 MV-22 Ospreys are deployed at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which is also located in a crowded residential area.
The lawyers’ group had requested the Japanese and U.S. governments not deploy the aircraft at Futenma but the demand was not accepted. Murakoshi said the rejection “is quite regrettable.”