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After Fatal Crash, Japan to Ground Osprey Aircraft, Asks US to Follow Suit

Japan on Thursday said it will ground Osprey military aircraft and has asked the US to do the same after a fatal air crash a day earlier.

Defense Minister Minoru Kihara told parliament that Tokyo urged Washington “to ground” the Osprey military aircraft operating in the country.

The Japanese Coast Guard said on Wednesday that an Osprey CV-22 transport aircraft crashed off the coast of Yakushima Island in southwestern Japan.

It went off the radar five minutes before crashing at around 2:45 p.m. (0545GMT). The aircraft was operating from Yokota Air Base in the western suburbs of Tokyo.

There were eight people on board. The Japanese authorities, however, later revised the number of people to six but again changed it to eight on Thursday, Tokyo-based Kyodo News reported.

Only one death has been confirmed, while there is no news about the rest, and the cause of the accident remains unknown.

Japan’s defense ministry asked the US military to “confirm its Ospreys are safe to fly before allowing them to operate again in Japan.”

While the Japanese side confirmed that the Osprey CV-22 transport aircraft had crashed, the US side told Tokyo that the aircraft had “made an unplanned landing at sea while carrying out routine training.”

Japan hosts around 50,000 American soldiers under a bilateral military agreement.

Source : aa