Plus   Neg

Japan Expert Panel To Assess Safety Of US Military Aircraft

Japan has set up a panel of experts to make its own assessment on the safety of the U.S. military's Osprey transport aircraft brought to the country on Monday.

Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto presided over the first meeting of the panel, headed by Defense Ministry's Deputy Director-General for Policy Tetsuro Kuroe, on Wednesday.

Other members include a Self-Defense Force helicopter pilot, an aircraft accident investigator from the Transport Ministry, and an expert in aeronautical engineering. The team plans to visit the United States sometime over the next few weeks to interview U.S. military officials about the cause of the recent Osprey accidents and measures to prevent a recurrence. They will also observe emergency training for Osprey pilots.

A series of accidents involving Osprey, including one in Morocco in April and another in the U.S. state of Florida in June, has triggered concerns in Japan over the planned deployment of the aircraft at the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma air station in Okinawa prefecture.

Morimoto said he hoped the experts would carefully investigate the accidents and provide an objective view so that people's apprehension about the aircraft's safety could be removed, Japanese media reported.

A fleet of 12 MV-22 Ospreys arrived on Monday at the U.S. Marine Corps Iwakuni air station in Yamaguchi prefecture, despite objections from local residents.

The Marines plan to conduct test flights near the base next month and begin full operations of the aircraft at the Futenma air station in Ginown, Okinawa prefecture, in early October.

Officials of 14 prefectures hosting U.S. bases have asked the Foreign Ministry details on the training flights over Japan which is having about 50,000 American soldiers on its soil as part of a bilateral military pact.

For comments and feedback contact: editorial@rttnews.com

Political News

Follow RTT