Please view the main text area of the page by skipping the main menu.

Japan Defense Ministry to deploy Osprey aircraft to Chiba Pref. base

U.S. Marines examine an Osprey aircraft at Oita Airport in Kunisaki, Oita Prefecture, on Aug. 30, 2017, the day after it made an emergency landing. (Mainichi)

The Defense Ministry is preparing to temporarily deploy V-22 Ospreys to the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF)'s Camp Kisarazu in Chiba Prefecture after the vertical takeoff and landing aircraft are delivered this autumn.

The ministry plans to deploy the GSDF Ospreys to Saga Airport in Saga, but has failed to acquire land adjacent to the airport to build relevant facilities because its negotiations with landowners have bogged down.

The Defense Ministry plans to deploy five of the aircraft set for delivery sometime after November 2018 at Camp Kisarazu, though the decision may draw local criticism over concerns the temporary deployment could be prolonged. The GSDF is scheduled to introduce 17 Ospreys total by fiscal 2021.

Regular inspections on U.S. forces' Ospreys are being conducted at Camp Kisarazu and GSDF V-22s are also expected to be serviced at the facility.

The ministry had initially considered deploying the aircraft to Vice-Camp Takayubaru in Mashiki, Kumamoto Prefecture, or temporarily storing them in the United States. However, the ministry selected Camp Kisarazu, considering the costs involved and the size of the facility. Osprey training flights will likely be conducted around the camp.

While the Defense Ministry's plan to deploy the aircraft to Saga Airport is unchanged, the ministry will suspend its negotiations with landowners on the acquisition of land adjacent to the airport until its investigation into the cause of a GSDF helicopter crash in Kanzaki, Saga Prefecture, last month has been completed. The Saga Airport deployment plan is thus unlikely to be implemented for several years at the earliest.

Also in The Mainichi

The Mainichi on social media