Japan urges U.S. to verify safety of Osprey aircraft after fatal crash

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30th November 2023 – (Tokyo) Japan has called on the United States to ensure the safety of its Osprey military aircraft following a crash that occurred on Wednesday, resulting in the death of at least one person on board, according to the Japanese defence minister. Minoru Kihara expressed concern over the incident, stating that it has caused anxiety among the local population. He further emphasized the need for the US to confirm the safety of the Osprey flights deployed in Japan before resuming operations.

As a precautionary measure, Japan’s Ground Self-Defence Force, which operates its own fleet of V-22 Osprey aircraft, has decided to temporarily suspend all Osprey flights, as confirmed by Taro Yamato, a senior official from the defence ministry. The move aims to prioritize safety and ensure that necessary precautions are taken.

The incident involved a US Osprey military transport aircraft that crashed into the waters off Yakushima, a southwestern island of Japan. The Japan Coast Guard reported that one unconscious individual was found in the sea and was later pronounced dead. As of now, the cause of the crash and the condition of the remaining seven individuals on board remain unknown, as stated by Kazuo Ogawa, a spokesperson for the coast guard.

Search and rescue operations are currently underway, led by Japan’s coast guard and other relevant authorities. Their primary focus is to locate any missing crew members and provide necessary assistance.

In response to the incident, the U.S. Air Force stated that the CV-22 tilt-rotor transport aircraft was involved in a “mishap” during routine training and had eight airmen on board at the time of the crash. The initial information provided by the Japan Coast Guard indicated that there were eight crew members on the crashed Osprey, but the number was later revised to six before being corrected back to eight.

The investigation into the cause of the crash and the circumstances surrounding the incident is underway, with both Japan and the United States collaboratively working to determine the factors that led to this tragic event. The safety of military aircraft operations is of paramount importance, and efforts will be made to prevent similar incidents in the future.

This incident serves as a reminder of the inherent risks associated with military aviation and the necessity for continuous vigilance and stringent safety protocols. The Japanese government will closely monitor the progress of the investigation and maintain open communication with US authorities to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to address any safety concerns.