The Japanese and U.S. defense chiefs have said that ensuring the safety of the Osprey V-22 military aircraft is a “top priority" for the allies, following the first fatal crash of the aircraft in Japan late last month in waters off Kagoshima Prefecture.

Defense Minister Minoru Kihara said late Tuesday that he had asked U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin during talks over the telephone — their first since the crash — that the U.S. military not resume Osprey flights until the aircraft's safety could be ensured.

“I took this opportunity to convey directly, not indirectly, but directly to Secretary Austin my thoughts on this matter, and we both agreed that ensuring flight safety is a top priority shared by Japan and the U.S., and that the two sides will continue to work closely together,” Kihara said.