The Defense Ministry said on April 18 that four MV-22 tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft would depart from the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture in order to transport relief supplies to quake-hit areas in Kumamoto Prefecture.
It is the first time for Ospreys to be engaged in a disaster relief mission in Japan.
According to the Defense Ministry, four Osprey aircraft belonging to the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture will be based at the Iwakuni base to ferry relief aid from Kumamoto Airport to Minamiaso, Kumamoto Prefecture, and other disaster affected areas. The Iwakuni base is jointly used by Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force and U.S. forces.
In a related development, a Japan-U.S. joint work station is to be set up under the umbrella of the Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defense forces joint task force on April 18 to facilitate bilateral cooperation in supporting quake-hit areas.