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5 US Osprey aircraft to be deployed to Japanese mainland for 1st time

In this file photo dated April 5, 2018, a CV-22 Osprey gets ready to land at the U.S. Yokota Air Base west of Tokyo. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Five Osprey vertical takeoff and landing transportation aircraft will be officially deployed to U.S. Air Force's Yokota base in western Tokyo on Oct. 1, the government said on Oct. 22, marking their first deployment to mainland Japan.

U.S. forces in Japan notified the Japanese government of the decision on Aug. 16, according to government officials.

This will be the first time that CV-22 Ospreys are deployed in areas other than Okinawa Prefecture. U.S. forces plan to deploy a total of 10 Ospreys to Yokota Air Base by around 2024. The move could raise concerns among local residents about the safety of the aircraft.

In April, U.S. forces announced that the deployment of CV-22 Ospreys, which was originally scheduled for October 2019 to September 2020, would be brought forward to around summer this year.

Five Ospreys landed at Yokota base on April 5 this year as temporary calls during training flights around Japan. Defense Ministry officials have confirmed that Ospreys repeatedly landed at and took off from the base after that.

In June, two Ospreys made emergency landings at Amami Airport on Amami Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture en route from Yokota base to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture.

(Japanese original by Hiroshi Maetani, City News Department)

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