An Osprey tilt-rotor plane from the Ground Self-Defense Force arrived in Okinawa on Thursday for joint drills with U.S. forces, marking the first flight of one of the Japanese aircraft to the southern island prefecture, amid China's growing military assertiveness.

The arrival of the aircraft came despite an Okinawa Prefectural Government request to the Defense Ministry not to use the airport on Ishigaki Island due to safety concerns over the U.S.-made Ospreys, which take off and land like helicopters but cruise like planes.

"It is very regrettable that it landed, disregarding the prefecture's request," said Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki.