Saga governor positive on GSDF Osprey deployment

JIJI

Saga Gov. Yoshinori Yamaguchi showed Wednesday a positive attitude to allowing the Defense Ministry to deploy Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft to his prefecture.

A study by the prefectural government found no inconsistency in the ministry’s explanation of the safety of the aircraft, Yamaguchi told a news conference.

The comments came after Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera visited him late last month to give explanations on the aircraft’s safety.

Yamaguchi also said the prefectural government is ready to restart talks with the ministry on the deployment of the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Ospreys at Saga Airport.

The talks on issues related to the deployment, including environmental conservation and accident compensation, have been suspended since the crash of a GSDF helicopter in the Saga city of Kanzaki in February.

The ministry plans to build a 33-hectare GSDF post on the west side of the airport to deploy 17 Ospreys in stages.

But the ministry has been unable to secure land for the site due to opposition from landowners.

The ministry is considering temporarily deploying the five Ospreys to be delivered in fiscal 2018 at the GSDF’s Camp Kisarazu in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo.