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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 February 1 - 7  > JCP Kasai denounces Abe gov’t for allowing early resumption of US Osprey flights
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2017 February 1 - 7 [POLITICS]

JCP Kasai denounces Abe gov’t for allowing early resumption of US Osprey flights

February 3, 2017
Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Kasai Akira condemned the Abe government at a Lower House Budget Committee session on February 2 for allowing the resumption of the U.S. Ospreys’ flight training exercises just days after one of the tilt-rotor aircraft crashed in Okinawa.

On December 13, an MV-22 Osprey stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Okinawa crashed into the shallow waters off Nago City during an air refueling drill. Six days later, the Japanese government showed its “understanding” of the U.S. military’s notice of the restart of the MV-22s’ flight training exercises.

The Defense Ministry press release issued on December 19 states that the ministry has received an accident-related report from the U.S. Forces in Japan and that it considers training resumption to be “reasonable” based on the expertise of the ministry and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces.

Kasai referred to the remarks made by Sugiyama Yoshiyuki, Chief of Staff of the Air SDF, at the press conference on December 16. Sugiyama said that it is almost impossible for them to analyze the cause of the accident because the U.S. military has yet to bring to light all the facts pertaining to the accident.

Kasai pointed to the fact that the U.S. Forces notified Tokyo of the resumption of the Osprey training flights on the same day Sugiyama spoke to reporters. Kasai stressed that this suggests that the Abe administration gave its consent to the resumption without making any efforts to collect information and data concerning the crash.

The JCP parliamentarian revealed an internal document of the Defense Ministry which states that if an MV-22 should be involved in an accident, it may spark public movements calling for the complete removal of the U.S. bases from Okinawa. He criticized the Abe government for putting the Japan-U.S. military alliance before Okinawans’ lives.

In response to Kasai, Defense Minister Inada Tomomi began to read out the ministry’s lengthy report on the Osprey’s “emergency landing” in Okinawa. The floor was filled with roars by opposition lawmakers, such as “Stop the filibuster!”

The committee chair interrupted Inada while she was speaking, “Your reply is too long. Please give a direct answer to Kasai’s question.” In the end, the chair ordered the minister to stop reading.

Past related article:
> Okinawans hold urgent rally to protest against US Osprey crash in Okinawa [December 18, 2016]
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