December 14, 2016 9:28:33 am
US military Osprey aircraft has crash-landed off Japan’s southern island of Okinawa, but its five crew members were safely rescued. The US Marine Corps said on Wednesday that an MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft landed in shallow water off Okinawa’s east coast late Tuesday. They said in a statement that the crew members were airlifted to a Navy hospital at the Kadena Air Base for treatment. Japanese defense officials said two of them sustained injuries that were not life-threatening.
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The crash just off Nago City triggered protests on Okinawa, where anti-US military sentiment is already strong. It also comes one week after a Marine Corps pilot died after his F/A-18 fighter jet crashed off western Japan. Japan’s Defense Minister Tomomi Inada has asked the US military to suspend Osprey flights until the cause of the accident is known.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters the crash was extremely regrettable, and said that safety must be guaranteed. More than half of the 50,000 American troops in Japan are stationed on Okinawa less than 1 percent of Japanese land mass under the Japan-US security treaty. Many on the island complain about noise, pollution and crime linked to the US military and has demanded their burden reduced.
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