The Yomiuri Shimbun yesterday on the deployment of Osprey at Yokota and how the aircraft are expected to increase deterrence in the region:

Thus it is hoped that the U.S. forces will be deployed expeditiously in the event of such large-scale disasters as an earthquake with its focus directly beneath Tokyo or along the Nankai Trough. In the wake of Nepal’s devastating earthquake, the MV-22s stationed in Okinawa Prefecture have been dispatched to disaster-stricken areas.

In this respect, it is worrisome that there is still misunderstanding over the Osprey’s safety record.

Serious accidents involving MV-22s occurred at a rate of 2.12 per 100,000 flight hours as of last September, ranking the MV-22 low in terms of accidents among all U.S. military aircraft. While the corresponding rate for CV-22s is slightly higher at 7.21, the figure reflects a reduction by half over four years. The U.S. military should do everything it can to enhance the safety of Osprey operations.

For its part, the Japanese government is set to provide information about safety and noise countermeasures to municipalities where Osprey aircraft will be stationed, including Fussa, Tokyo. The government must bear in mind that such explanations must be considerate as well as convincing.

Timely article, having been published just one day prior to today’s Osprey hard-landing incident in Hawaii.

Honolulu Star Advertiser on an accident in Hawaii today that left one Marine dead and several injured in an Osprey hard-landing at Bellows:

One Marine died and several were injured in an MV-22 Osprey aircraft hard-landing incident Sunday morning at Bellows Air Force Station.

At least twelve of 22 Marines onboard were injured in a “hard-landing mishap,” which occurred at about 11 a.m. when the aircraft from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California, was conducting training, said Capt. Alex Lim, a spokesman for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Forces Pacific.

Just as a very tentative and sensitive Japan has agreed to allow these aircraft to be deployed to Yokota Air Base in rural Tokyo, now this incident happen. I am quite sure the local residents are feeling confident in the capability of the Osprey’s to be handled better than history has shown.

Japan Today on the United States Department of Defense announcing it will deploy Ospreys at Yokota AB in Tokyo in 2017:

The Pentagon said on Monday it plans to station a squadron of tilt-rotor CV-22 Osprey aircraft at the Yokota Air Base in Japan to enable U.S. special operations troops to respond quickly to crises in the Asia-Pacific region.

The first three Air Force variants of the CV-22 will arrive at the U.S. base on the outskirts of Tokyo in the last half of 2017, with an additional seven due to arrive by 2021, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The Osprey, which takes off like a helicopter and then rotates its propellers to fly like a plane, obtained a reputation for technical difficulties and safety problems during its development phase in the 1990s. Since then, it has largely overcome the issues, but crashes during training exercises in Morocco and Florida in early 2012 exacerbated Japanese concerns about the planes.

The residents of Okinawa – rightfully so – were vehemently opposed to these aircraft being deployed to a base situated in a semi-rural area of the island. Now that the U.S. plans to station a CV-22 squadron on mainland Japan, I suspect this will not be the last time we hear about Osprey’s in the news here in Japan.