U.S. Military Lifts Ban on Osprey Flights; Resumption of Flights in Japan yet to be Confirmed

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
An object believed to be a part of the Osprey aircraft that crashed in November is seen being salvaged by a U.S. military vessel off Yakushima, Kagoshima Prefecture, on Dec. 27, 2023.

The Japanese and U.S. governments announced Friday that the U.S. military has lifted a worldwide flight suspension on its Osprey aircraft that had been in place following a fatal crash off Kagoshima Prefecture.

The resumption of Osprey flights in Japan has yet to be confirmed. The Japanese government intends to coordinate with the U.S. side on when flights may resume.

The Japanese Defense Ministry stated in a press release that a material failure of a component had been identified as the cause of the crash. The ministry believes that Osprey aircraft will soon be allowed to resume flights.

Osprey aircraft were grounded by the U.S. military in December in the wake of the crash that occurred off Kagoshima Prefecture the month prior. The U.S. side since has provided detailed information on the crash, according to the ministry.

Regarding when flights will resume, the ministry intends to discuss the matter after safety measures — such as increasing the frequency of maintenance and inspections, as well as updating emergency procedures for crew members — are implemented and local governments and residents where the Osprey aircraft are deployed are given explanations.

The ministry has said there are no underlying problems with the design or structure of the Osprey. However, details about the failed component have not been disclosed.

There were six CV-22 Ospreys used by the U.S. Air Force at Yokota Air Base in Tokyo and 24 MV-22 Ospreys used by the Marine Corps at Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture, in November.