Air Force Ospreys tagged for Kadena may go to Tokyo

A dozen CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft slated for deployment to Kadena Air Base on Okinawa may instead find themselves at home at Yokota Air Base in Tokyo.

A Japanese government source is saying plans by the Japanese and U.S. governments to place the 12 Ospreys on Okinawa to replace a number of aging U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo planes may be changed to ease some of the anti-Osprey protests over safety that have been taking place on the island.  More than a year ago, the U.S. Pacific Air Forces commander, General Herbert Carlisle said Yokota was a possible base for the CV-22s.

The decision on where to place the Ospreys was supposed to have been made earlier this year, but was deferred in light of the concerns Tokyo and Washington had for pushing the relocation of Futenma Marine Corps Air Station to northern Okinawa. There are reports that citizens’ groups in Fussa, a mainland city adjacent to Yokota Air Base, are opposed to having the Ospreys in their region.

Okinawa’s governor late last year signed the papers approving the land reclamation necessary to move the Henoko project forward, despite opposition from many groups. Two dozen Ospreys are stationed at Futenma now, and demonstrations continue to have them removed from Okinawa, citing safety concerns.