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Osaka to propose permission for Osprey training in prefecture


16:09, June 03, 2013

OSAKA, June 3 (Xinhua) -- Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui, who is also one of the leaders of the right-wing Japan Restoration Party (JRP), is considering permitting flight training for the U.S. military's "Osprey" aircraft in airspace over the prefecture, local press reported on Monday.

The U.S. Marine Corps began training flights with its MV-22 Osprey transport in Japan's airspace, mainly over the country's southern island of Okinawa where they are based, after last year' s deployment. But the exercises are causing public concern over safety issues related to the aircraft.

On Sunday, Matsui had resolved to tell the Japanese government his idea for the U.S. military to use Yao Airport in western Osaka to conduct some of their exercises, thus reducing the burden of U. S. military bases in Okinawa and its people, according to the daily Mainichi Shimbun.

The report said that he will officially propose his plan to the government when he meets in Tokyo on Thursday with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, adding that the anticipated discussion will be attended by Mikio Shimoji, who heads the Political Group of Okinawan Revolution, with which the JRP has a political alliance.

But the local report noted that strong protests will be " unavoidable" since the local airport, which is now primarily used as the main bases for Japan Coast Guard emergency planes and helicopters as well as for local fire fighters, is fully surrounded by residential zones.

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