The MV-22 Osprey has been a controversial aircraft in Japan, where thousands turned out in September to protest basing the Osprey on the island of Okinawa. The protests centered on concerns about the safety record of the Osprey, which had a difficult birth but had avoided significant incident until crashes in Morocco in April and Florida in June. An emergency landing of an MV-22 in North Carolina in early September, just as the public opposition was growing, further publicized the issue.
After grounding the aircraft in August, the Osprey is now airborne again, as the Marine Corps is flying the helicopter/plane hybrid from its base in Iwakumi Japan. Despite the protests, the aircraft is headed for operations off of Okinawa as Japan’s foreign minister Koichiro Gemba and defense minister Satoshi Morimoto announced Sept. 19 that the aircraft had been declared safe.
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