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Governor urges Osprey deployment stop

Date Posted: 2012-06-22

Seemingly tired of the central governmentís ignoring the wishes of the Okinawan people, Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima took his case to Tokyo this week, urging the Japanese government to block the deployment of the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft at the U.S. Futenma Marine Corps Air Station in Ginowan.

"It's our duty to protect the lives and property of our residents," Nakaima, accompanied by Ginowan Mayor Atsushi Sakima, said at a meeting with Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba here. "We dare not say that we accept (the deployment)." For his part after listening to the governor, Genba said that the Japanese government will respond to the request in a sincere manner while gathering as much information on the Osprey as possible from the United States.

Nakaima and Sakima also met with Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto and reiterated their request. Morimoto says he takes the request seriously, and that he wants to provide sincere explanations to local residents.The U.S. government has plans to deploy the Osprey at Futenma after a temporary deployment at the Marine Corps' Iwakuni base in the western Japan prefecture of Yamaguchi. That deployment is expected as early as July, but Okinawa people have intensified opposition to the deployment since an Osprey crash in Florida earlier this month.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura, Genba and Morimoto all confirmed that Japan will urge the United States to provide information on the cause of the crash as soon as possible. The Japanese government says it plans to put off the proceeding in the Osprey deployment until a detailed account of the accident is reported.

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