The Pentagon said it "will refrain from any flight operations of the MV-22 in Japan" until they present Japanese officials with the results of two recent Osprey crash investigations. (Lance Cpl. Santiago G. Colon Jr. / Marine Corps)
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The stage is set for the MV-22 Osprey's introduction to Japan, where some government officials and residents question the aircraft's safety.
Pentagon officials announced plans on Friday to base the Osprey at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Okinawa, though the aircraft will first be transported in late July to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, on mainland Japan. There, they'll await the OK to operate pending the outcomes of separate mishap investigations into the http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2012/04/marine-corps-identifies-morroco-osprey-crash-victims-041312/">April 11 crash of a Marine Corps Osprey in Morocco and the June 13 crash of an Air Force http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2012/06/ap-5-airmen-injured-osprey-crash-eglin-061412/">CV-22 in Florida.
Citing safety concerns raised by the Japan government, the U.S. military "will refrain from any flight operations of the MV-22 in Japan until the results of the investigations are presented to the Japanese government and the safety of flight operations is confirmed," Pentagon officials said. Those results will be revealed in August.
Corps officials so far have discounted mechanical problems or material failure as the cause of the Morocco crash and found "no problems with the safety of the aircraft," the Pentagon's statement attests.
Reports of the Osprey's arrival have set off a flurry of protests in Japan. But military officials insist the MV-22 is safe and will better support Japan-based III Marine Expeditionary Force in the region.