Japan urges U.S. to confirm flight safety, suspends its own Osprey flights after crash

(Xinhua) 13:39, November 30, 2023

TOKYO, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Japan has urged the United States to confirm the safety of its Osprey military aircraft, after one crashed into the sea in western Japan on Wednesday, killing at least one person onboard, the Japanese defense minister said Thursday.

"The occurrence of such an accident causes great anxiety to the people of the region," Minoru Kihara said in parliament, "And we are requesting the U.S. side to conduct flights of Ospreys deployed in Japan after these flights are confirmed to be safe."

Japan's Ground Self-Defence Force, which has a V-22 Osprey fleet, will suspend its own Osprey flights for the time being, senior defense ministry official Taro Yamato told the parliamentary hearing.

A U.S. Osprey military transport aircraft based in Japan crashed in waters off the country's southwestern island of Yakushima on Wednesday. One unconscious person was found in the sea and later declared dead, according to the Japan Coast Guard.

The cause of the crash and the status of the seven others on board were not immediately known, the coast guard spokesperson Kazuo Ogawa said.

Japan's coast guard and others are continuing search and rescue operations.

The U.S. Air Force said that the CV-22 tilt-rotor transport aircraft involved in a "mishap" while carrying out a routine training had eight airmen on board. The Japan Coast Guard had initially said eight crew were aboard the crashed Osprey before revising the number down to six and then back to eight.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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