Both the Japanese ministry of defence and the prefecture of Okinawa, have requested the US grounds its V-22 Osprey aircraft stationed at their Japan bases until the cause of last week’s V-22 accident in Australia has been determined.
On Tuesday, Okinawa Vice Governor Moritake Tomikawa met with Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, the commander of all US forces in Okinawa prefecture, and requested that the Osprey aircraft be grounded.
Tomikawa told local media that Lt. Gen Nicholson dismissed the request on the grounds that “Ospreys are flying around the world,” and it is “the military’s policy.”
In a statement issued to DW, Tomikawa said “we cannot contain our anger” over the US continuing flight operations.
The Pentagon will continue flying its tilt-rotor coffins over Japan regardless of what Japan thinks or wants. If you thought Japan was a sovereign country, think again. Supposedly the US occupation of Okinawa was ended in 1972 but we can see that isn’t exactly so. The needs of the US military still come first.
By defying Japan the US military is causing an ally to lose face and complicating its relations with a junior ally.
But on the other hand, by grounding the Ospreys it would be admitting there is a problem with the aircraft, which would raise the question of why it was ever introduced into service.
Since the answer is institutional corruption in the US military which sees generals carry water for weapons manufacturers in exchange for a later payday, that can not be allowed under any circumstances.