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The Ground Self-Defense Force plans to deploy its first Osprey at Camp Kisarazu in Chiba Prefecture on July 7, according to informed sources.

Another one will be deployed about a week later as part of the GSDF's plan to create a 17-strong Osprey fleet in five years, the sources said.

The GSDF wanted to deploy the controversial U.S.-made tilt-rotor transport aircraft at Saga Airport in Saga Prefecture, but inconclusive talks with local fishermen forced it to revise the plan.

The deployment at Camp Kisarazu is a provisional step until local consent is granted.

The two Ospreys arrived at the U.S. Marine Corps' Iwakuni base in Yamaguchi Prefecture in May. Inspection and maintenance work has been delayed by the coronavirus epidemic.

A ceremony to mark the launch of a GSDF unit that will operate the Ospreys was held at Camp Kisarazu in April.

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