オスプレイ演習一人(新潟:米山???)知事を除き皆反対。

U.S. Osprey aircraft are seen flying in Okinawa.  Photo: AP file

Politics

Only 1 governor would accept Osprey drills from Okinawa: survey

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Only one of Japan’s 47 prefectural governors — the Niigata governor — would conditionally agree to hosting drills involving U.S. military Osprey aircraft to lessen the burden of Okinawa, a Kyodo News survey showed.

The survey was conducted a year after an MV-22 tilt-rotor transport aircraft made a crash-landing in waters off Okinawa in the first major accident involving the aircraft in Japan.

The survey found only nine governors support the idea of relocating Osprey drills from the southern island prefecture, while many prefectural government leaders avoided taking a stance on the issue, saying decisions on national security should be left to the central government.

Regarding the safety of Ospreys, 14 governors, or 30 percent, said they “feel” or “somewhat feel” concerns are justified over the aircraft, which takes off and lands like a helicopter but flies like a plane.

A string of accidents involving Ospreys at home and abroad have prompted calls by Okinawa residents to remove the aircraft from the prefecture. But the survey revealed that only 10 governors expressed support for that demand.

Shunji Kono, the governor of Miyazaki, southwestern Japan, said, “The whole country should sincerely accept the wishes of the Okinawa people calling for the reduction of (Osprey-related) burdens on them.”

In October 2013, Tokyo and Washington agreed to move toward relocating Osprey drills from Okinawa.

But in response to a question about whether their prefecture would accept the drill, only Niigata Gov Ryuichi Yoneyama said he would “somewhat agree,” on condition the central government provide a full explanation and local residents give their consent.

Seven governors said they are “opposed” or “relatively opposed” to hosting the drill in their prefectures, while the remaining 39 governors either selected “other” as their stances or did not answer the question.

Hyogo Gov. Toshizo Ido said there is “no appropriate site” for hosting such drills in the western prefecture. And Kanagawa Gov. Yuji Kuroiwa said the prefecture adjoining Tokyo, where a number of major U.S. military installations are located, cannot bear additional burdens.

But most governors declined to say whether they oppose or support the relocation of drills from Okinawa. Iwate Gov. Takuya Tasso said the issue is “an exclusive prerogative” of the central government.

The survey was sent to all 47 prefectural governors on Nov 10, and all responded.

On Dec 13, 2016, an Osprey crash-landed in shallow water off the eastern coast of Okinawa’s main island after conducting aerial refueling training. The U.S. military grounded all the aircraft before resuming its operations in less than a week.

About 70 percent of the total area of land exclusively used by U.S. military facilities in Japan is located in Okinawa, which accounts for only 0.6 percent of the country’s land mass.

© KYODO

Categories オスプレイ

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