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U.S. military to resume contentious Osprey aircraft refueling exercises in Japan's Okinawa
Last Updated: 2017-01-06 08:01 | Xinhua
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Japan's Defense Ministry announced Thursday that the U.S. military will resume from Friday aerial refueling training for the contentious Osprey aircraft in Japan's Okinawa Prefecture.

The announcement came less than a month after one of the MV-22 Osprey aircraft deployed at the U.S. Futenma base in the city of Ginowan made a water crash-landing off Okinawa on Dec. 13, 2016, injuring two of the five crew members aboard.

The incident, according to the U.S. military, was caused by a damage to the aircraft's propeller in the process of aerial refueling training by a refueling plane.

Following the accident, Japan had asked the U.S. military to suspend its Osprey flights in Okinawa until the cause of the accident is known and safety is ensured.

The U.S. Military, however, resumed Osprey flights in Okinawa less than a week later, saying the accident was not caused by any problem with the aircraft itself, despite safety concerns and protests of the local people.

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga had called the Japanese government's approval of the flight resumption "outrageous," and called for a removal of all the contentious tilt-rotor aircraft from the island prefecture.

The U.S. military has deployed dozens of Osprey aircraft in its Futenma base in Okinawa, which has caused serious concerns from local people for a long time due to the aircraft's record of fatal accidents and their tremendous noise.

The Japanese and U.S. governments have been seeking to move the Futenma base from Ginowan to the less-populated Henoko coastal area of Nago.

The people of Okinawa, however, have been demanding the Futenma base to be relocated outside the prefecture, due to crimes involving the U.S. base personnel as well as noise and safety problems.

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