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The U.S. Defense Department has announced that 10 CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft will be stationed at Tokyo’s Yokota Air Base by 2021, starting in 2017. This represents the first deployment of Ospreys in Japan outside of Okinawa. The U.S. Marine Corps already has 24 MV-22 Ospreys at its Futenma base in Ginowan in central Okinawa — for which the Abe administration is pushing construction of a replacement facility in the Henoko area of Nago in the northern part of the island.

Defense Minister Gen Nakatani welcomed the decision, saying that it will not only increase the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. alliance, thus contributing to the stability of the Asia-Pacific region, but also improve the ability to quickly carry out humanitarian assistance and rescue operations in case of a major disaster, such as a big quake hitting Tokyo. But the Abe administration should keep in mind that the decision — which came without prior explanations to the public — is causing dissatisfaction and concern among people who live near the Yokota base.

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