Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera insisted Monday the planned deployment of Osprey aircraft in southwestern Japan poses no safety concerns after he resumed talks with local officials that were suspended earlier this year following a fatal helicopter crash.

"There are no problems in the safety of Ospreys," Onodera said in a meeting with Saga Gov. Yoshinori Yamaguchi while seeking support for the plan to deploy the controversial tilt-rotor transport in the prefecture.

The Defense Ministry wants to deploy 17 newly acquired V-22 Ospreys at Saga Airport to strengthen the Self-Defense Forces' ability to protect outlying islands amid China's increasing maritime assertiveness.