Defense Minister Minoru Kihara said Friday that the United States has made an official request to coordinate timings for resuming operations of Osprey aircraft in Japan, after they were grounded following a deadly crash involving one of the aircraft last year.

The Pentagon is gearing up to lift the Osprey’s global flight suspension following the Nov. 29 crash into the sea off Yakushima, Kagoshima, which left all eight U.S. airmen on board dead.

Kihara told reporters that the U.S. formally made the request on Thursday evening.

The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command grounded the Osprey CV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft on Dec. 7 following the incident. The Ground Self-Defense Force also suspended flights of its Ospreys after the accident amid public concerns over the aircraft's safety.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi, however, was mum on when the flights will resume.

“Japan will make an appropriate decision based on information from the U.S. military,” he said on Friday.

The Defense Ministry intends to expedite its investigation into the incident's circumstances and necessary safety protocols.

"Ensuring the safety of flights remains a paramount concern shared by Japan and the United States,” Kihara said. "We are committed to working closely with the U.S. to effectively address this matter.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has said that he will instruct the relevant Pentagon departments to coordinate with the Japanese government before resuming operations of the aircraft in Japan.

Information from Jiji added