Japan Asks U.S. Not to Fly Ospreys Until Safety Confirmed

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Osprey aircraft are seen at Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture.

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara on Tuesday reiterated the country’s demand that the United States not resume flying Ospreys until the safety of the tilt-rotor military transport aircraft is confirmed.

Kihara made the demand in telephone talks with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

The U.S. military grounded its entire fleet of Ospreys last week after the U.S. Air Force’s CV-22 Osprey crashed off the coast of southwestern Japan on Nov. 29, leaving all eight crew members dead.

The Japanese minister also asked the United States to share information about the investigation into the crash and efforts to resume Osprey flights.

Austin told Kihara that his country’s top priority is the safety of U.S. service members and Japanese communities. The two ministers confirmed that Japan and the United States will work together to ensure the safety of Osprey flights.

Kihara and Austin discussed ways to ensure free and safe navigation in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The two ministers agreed that Japan, the United States and South Korea will step up security cooperation, including the sharing of information on North Korean ballistic missiles in real time.