Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera on Friday asked new U.S. Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty to heed the public's concerns about hosting U.S. bases.

"Regarding the Osprey aircraft, I believe great care is taken in ensuring their safety, but various concerns are still voiced in Japan," Onodera told Hagerty, who paid a courtesy call a day after taking up his post.

"I hope you will lend an ear to the voices of the local people, including on issues related to the U.S. forces in Japan," the minister said. The start of the meeting was open to the media.