Air Force Ospreys to be officially stationed in Tokyo by October
By SETH ROBSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 23, 2018
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — U.S. Forces Japan has officially notified the Japanese government of plans to base CV-22 Osprey aircraft in western Tokyo, more than four months after they arrived there for the first time.
“The Secretary of the Defense has approved permanent basing status for CV-22s assigned to Yokota Air Base,” Air Force spokeswoman Kaori Matsukasa said in an email Thursday.
Japanese Defense Ministry officials said U.S. forces notified them last week that the Ospreys would be officially deployed to Yokota on Oct. 1. However, the helicopter-plane hybrids have been regular visitors to Yokota since spring.
The Air Force released a statement April 3 stating that the deployment — at one stage scheduled for 2020 — had been brought forward and that the aircraft would arrive at Yokota that week.
The statement said that the Ospreys would remain at the base for a short time before leaving to conduct training around the region for a few months.
Since then, Ospreys have been a common site at the home of the 374th Airlift Wing, as have protestors outside the gate calling for the aircraft to be removed.
Two Ospreys flying from Yokota to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, made unscheduled landings in June on Amami Oshima Island. Last month, residents complained after a CV-22 landed at a military communication site in Saitama Prefecture.
Matsukasa said the Ospreys bring unparalleled special operations capabilities to the region.
“A total of 10 aircraft are expected to be assigned to Yokota as part of a phased-basing plan over the next several years,” she said. “We remain committed to deploying our most advanced capabilities to Japan while operating safely and effectively in support of our Alliance commitments.”
Stars and Stripes correspondent Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.