I think this is the case Tintin Storm is referring to:https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/ ... ears-fore/
Nonfatal Osprey crash in Okinawa brings safety fears to fore
BY AYAKO MIE
JAN 9, 2017
The MV-22 Osprey accident last month in Okinawa rekindled concerns about the tilt-rotor aircraft, which was once known as the “widow maker” for those killed during its development.
Starting this year, Japan will see more of the odd-looking hybrids in its skies than the 24 deployed by the U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa, and residents are worried about potential accidents in densely populated areas and noise issues.
Here are some basic facts and about the Osprey and the lingering issues surrounding it:
What is the Osprey?
The V-22 Osprey is a twin-engine hybrid combining the functions of a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft. It usually takes off vertically like a helicopter without a runway and, after its engines are tilted to point forward, can cruise at fixed-wing aircraft speeds, lending to its maneuverability.
It is more capable than the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters used by the U.S. military in Okinawa and is intended to replace them. They can fly twice as fast as the CH-46, carry three times the payload and fly more than five times farther. Unlike the CH-46, the Osprey can also be refueled in flight, with one refueling giving it the range to reach the Philippines or South Korea from Japan.
Are they safe?
The U.S. military and the Defense Ministry say yes.
During its 25-year development phase, the Osprey suffered four crashes, including three fatal ones. But in September 2005, the Pentagon gave green light for full production, saying it had overcome all safety issues.
Due to its hybrid nature, the Osprey is harder to operate and requires more training than usual, experts say. And the aircraft has had fatal accidents after deployment, including the one in Hawaii in 2015 when two marines were killed in a crash.
When Tokyo announced the introduction of the controversial aircraft in 2012 to gradually replace the aging CH-46s, the Defense Ministry said the Osprey’s Class A accident rate — the rate for accidents that cause property damage of $2,000,000 or more per 100,000 hours of flight — was 1.93.
The ministry apparently used this figure to show the Osprey was safer than other Marine Corps aircraft, which have an average Class A accident rate of 2.45.
But since then, the ministry’s website hasn’t been updated to reflect the Osprey’s current accident rate, which stood at 2.64 as of September 2015. This is slightly higher than the Marine Corps’ average accident rate of 2.63 between 2002 and 2016, according to the ministry.
One factor that has Okinawans worried is that Ospreys deployed to Afghanistan logged 40 times more accidents compared with the average accident rate for all U.S. Marine Corps aircraft deployed in that country, according to Japanese media reports citing statistics between 2010 and 2012 by the U.S. Naval Safety Center.
How did the U.S. handle the recent accident in Okinawa?
Japan’s first Class-A Osprey accident occurred on Dec. 13 when one ditched just off the coast of Nago during in-flight refueling exercise at night, injuring two of its five crew members.
The U.S. military said the accident was not caused by a problem with the aircraft, but by its rotor blades slicing the fuel hose from the tanker plane.
The U.S. grounded all Ospreys in Okinawa after the accident but resumed operations on Dec. 19. The Japanese government also gave a tacit nod to the resumption of refueling drills last Friday, even though the U.S. military has yet to identify what specifically caused the accident. The potential causes cited so far include turbulent air, the complicated nature of in-flight refueling at night, and human error.
Where is the Osprey deployed in Japan?
The U.S. has deployed 24 Ospreys deployed at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture. It also uses helipads in the Northern Training Area in the villages of Kunigami and Higashi in the prefecture. More than half of the training area was returned to Japan at the end of last month, marking the biggest transfer of land since Okinawa’s reversion to Japan in 1972.
The land was returned in exchange for building six helipads on the remaining land, only a few hundred meters away from the Takae district in village of Higashi. According to an environmental review released by the U.S. military in 2012, an annual average of 420 Osprey training flights were projected to be held using the new helipads, but the actual number is not available.
Are there other concerns?
Aircraft noise is an ongoing problem in Okinawa, but Tokyo maintains that the Osprey generates about the same amount of noise as the CH-47 Chinook helicopters used by the Self-Defense Forces.
Last year, 31 residents filed a motion against the central government demanding that a temporary injunction be issued to suspend construction of the helipads, arguing that Osprey training there would jeopardize the livelihood of 150 residents in Takae.
The injunction was rejected last month shortly before the Northern Training Area land was returned to Japan. The Fukuoka High Court’s Naha branch ruled that the noise was within legally permitted levels based on the environmental impact assessment and said there was no proof the noise would severely harm the health of residents.
However, Gentatsu Takamine, one of the plaintiffs, said before the ruling that his family could not sleep during a two-week Osprey training period that included flights at around 8 a.m. and 11 p.m.
“My children cannot go to school due to the psychological damage brought by the Osprey noise,” Takamine said at a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in October.
Will the Osprey be deployed outside Okinawa in the future?
Yes. Three CV-22 Ospreys are planned to be deployed at U.S. Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo this year, and another seven will be deployed by 2021. The CV-22 is the U.S. Air Force version of the aircraft and will be used more to conduct special operations. The MV-22 is the marine version and is mainly used for transport.
Some say the CV-22 could be more prone to accidents because it is used in more severe situations, even during training. The CV-22 is the version that crashed in Afghanistan in April 2010, killing four soldiers. The mileage necessary to calculate official accident rates is not available, but based on some 42,000 flight hours, the air force version has an accident rate of 7.21 — three times more than the marine version.
The SDF also plans to purchase 17 Ospreys by 2018 to be deployed at the Saga Airport after 2019.
As part of bilateral efforts to improve interoperability, the Defense Ministry announced last year that it is going to use the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Kisarazu Air Field in Chiba Prefecture as a joint maintenance hub for the aircraft.
It also has been reported that the U.S. Navy will deploy the navy version of the Osprey between 2021 and 2026, although no official announcement has been made.
See also:https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/ ... bQ0_tOGOV4
Head of U.S. forces in Okinawa sees no need to halt Osprey flights as marines weigh grounding fleet
AUG 8, 2017
WASHINGTON/NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. – As the U.S. Marine Corps weighed the grounding of its entire air fleet following a deadly Osprey crash off Australia, the top commander of U.S. forces in Okinawa said Tuesday that he sees no need to halt operations of the tilt-rotor aircraft in Japan.
A Japan-based MV-22 Osprey crashed Saturday during an exercise off the Australian coast, leaving three service members missing and presumed dead.
“Ospreys are flying around the world. It is the military’s policy,” Okinawa Deputy Gov. Moritake Tomikawa, speaking to reporters, quoted Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson as saying during their meeting earlier in the day at Camp Zukeran.
Tomikawa visited Nicholson to protest the continued flights of the aircraft.
“From the viewpoint of Okinawa, it is unbearable and I cannot help but get angry,” Tomikawa said. “I was not able to get any convincing answers.”
Earlier, a Defense Department official said the U.S. Marine Corps may ground its entire air fleet for a safety review following the crash.
“We are looking at our options in terms of reviewing safety across the marine corps fleet at the moment … pending an across-the-board safety review,” the official said Monday, noting that the grounding could affect all flying squads in the service.
U.S. officials are also weighing a request by Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, who told the U.S. military Monday of his “many concerns” after it flew an Osprey in Japan following the crash.
Onodera, appointed last Thursday in a Cabinet reshuffle, asked the U.S. to temporarily stop flying the aircraft in Japan following the accident.
“We still have many concerns,” Onodera said during a meeting with Maj. Gen. Charles Chiarotti, deputy commander of U.S. Forces in Japan, according to a Defense Ministry spokesman.
The flight reportedly took place in Okinawa, where a squadron of Ospreys is stationed at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
Chiarotti told Onodera the flight was necessary for operational reasons and that its safety was confirmed, according to the Defense Ministry.
Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis did not say whether the marines will honor Tokyo’s request but stressed that safety is of paramount concern.
“We always take the safety of all our operations, not just with MV-22s, very seriously and we recognize that we are guests of the government of Japan,” Davis said.
“I would also say that these are forces …that are there specifically for the defense of Japan and for furthering our shared security,” he added.
The MV-22 — a hybrid helicopter-turboprop with a checkered safety record — has two engines positioned on fixed wingtips that allow it to land and take off vertically. It can travel much faster than a helicopter.
According to the U.S. official, the Osprey crashed after clipping the back of the USS Green Bay while trying to land on the amphibious transport ship.
The aircraft which crashed was in Australia as part of a joint military exercise called Talisman Saber, which has just ended in Queensland.
The U.S. Naval Safety Center has categorized the crash as “Class A,” the most serious type which causes total property damage worth $2 million or more, aircraft destruction and fatality or permanent total disability.
There have been a series of deadly incidents, mostly in the United States, involving the aircraft.
In April 2000, 19 marines were killed in an MV-22 crash in Arizona.
Marines say the problems that plagued the aircraft while it was being developed have been fixed, and it is now actually one of the safest in the fleet.
Okinawa residents have protested the deployment of Ospreys to Futenma, which is situated in the middle of a densely crowded city.
In December, a crash-landing of an Osprey just off the Okinawan coast during a training flight sparked local anger. The aircraft broke into pieces but no one was killed.
Decky wrote:If you were not stopping them they already would have built an enormous navy to deter China.
The truth is, the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force is tightly integrated with the USN, and is already quite large, composed of more than 100 ships and over 300 aircraft.
With the DPRK crisis unfolding, it is widely expected that the next Japanese PM or Abe, if he is able to retain control, will seek to revise the constitution to enable an even more aggressive navalist policy, if Article 9 is repealed or modified. Of course, there are historical and legal issues involved beyond the constitution, especially with regard to Korea. Japan is in a position, due to the historical legacy of its imperialism and colonization of Korea, which means its self defence force will in that regard always be defensive in nature, unless directly attacked. Certainly China is of greater concern so far as the Navy goes.https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/29/worl ... ifism.html
A Pacifist Japan Starts to Embrace the Military
By MOTOKO RICHAUG. 29, 2017
Members of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces parachuted during live-fire drills Sunday in the foothills of Mount Fuji. Credit Tomohiro Ohsumi for The New York Times
GOTEMBA, Japan — The Japanese soldiers jumped out of the jeeps, unloaded the antitank missiles and dropped to the ground. Within minutes, they aimed and fired, striking hypothetical targets nearly a half-mile away.
The audience of more than 26,000, crammed into bleachers and picnicking on camouflage-patterned mats on the ground, clapped appreciatively, murmuring “Sugoi!” — or “Wow!” — during live-fire drills conducted over the weekend by Japan’s military here in the foothills of Mount Fuji.
Pacifism has been a sacred tenet of Japan’s national identity since the end of World War II, when the United States pushed to insert a clause renouncing war into the country’s postwar Constitution. But there are signs that the public’s devotion to pacifism and its attitude toward the Japanese military, known as the Self-Defense Forces, have begun to change, in part at the urging of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Mr. Abe’s slow, steady efforts to remove pacifist constraints on the military may have gotten help Tuesday, when North Korea fired a ballistic missile that sailed over Japan’s northern island, Hokkaido, prompting the government to issue television and cellphone alerts warning residents in its path to take cover. It was the first time North Korea had flown a missile over Japanese territory without the pretext of launching a satellite. The missile landed harmlessly in the Pacific Ocean, but Mr. Abe called it an “unprecedented, grave and serious threat.”
North Korea Fires Missile Over Japan AUG. 28, 2017
Shinzo Abe Announces Plan to Revise Japan’s Pacifist Constitution MAY 3, 2017
Looming War Games Alarm North Korea, but May Be a Bargaining Chip AUG. 16, 2017
“We have been living in peace for such a long time that we believe this peace is going to last forever,” said Ichiro Miyazoe, 74, walking in the Ikebukuro neighborhood of Tokyo after the latest test from Pyongyang on Tuesday. “Japan has had a weak attitude, like a losing dog. We must have a stronger military.”
More than 26,000 people attended the Fuji drills. Applications for tickets were oversubscribed by a factor of nearly six to one this year. Credit Tomohiro Ohsumi for The New York Times
Although the Japanese public has long been ambivalent about Mr. Abe’s agenda — polls show that about half or more of respondents disagree with his efforts to revise the pacifist clause of the Constitution — its fascination with the military has been growing.
Applications for tickets to attend the Fuji drills were oversubscribed by a factor of nearly six to one this year. According to polls by the prime minister’s cabinet office, the share of those who say they are interested in the Self-Defense Forces has risen to 71 percent in 2015, up from about 55 percent in the late 1980s.
Manga comics and anime television shows like “Gate,” which feature the Self-Defense Forces fighting against supernatural creatures, have grown popular, while online matchmaking sites offering dates with soldiers have become trendy.
Of course, such activities do not necessarily translate into a desire for a more assertive national defense policy. The most important function of the Self-Defense Forces is disaster relief, and support for the forces soared in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, when troops rescued victims and restored disaster-ravaged zones.
But at events like the live-fire drills near Mount Fuji, some members of the public are starting to consider the possibility that their military could be called upon to perform more than live exercises or disaster relief.
“Once the U.S. or South Korea engages in a war, Japan will also have to take part,” said Masaaki Ishihara, 60, a manager at a construction company in Yokohama who attended the Sunday drills with his wife, 9-year-old son and a friend. “Japan will be forced to get involved.”
A tank fired during the exercises. There are signs that the public’s devotion to pacifism and its attitude toward the Japanese military have begun to evolve, in part at the urging of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Credit Tomohiro Ohsumi for The New York Times
Despite the festival-like atmosphere, with people eating flavored shaved ice and snapping up T-shirts, model tanks and military-themed cookies at souvenir stands, Mr. Ishihara’s wife, Takako, 49, said the exercises felt “like a real battle.”
“I got scared watching it,” Ms. Ishihara said. “Will peace really continue?”
With the rising threats in the region, Mr. Abe has repeatedly called for a constitutional revision to allow Japan to expand its military capabilities. Japan is protected by its alliance with the United States, but Mr. Abe and his supporters believe the country needs to do more on its own.
Two years ago, Mr. Abe pushed through security laws that permit Japan’s troops to participate in overseas combat missions. The Japanese government has also proposed military spending increases for six years running, and the Defense Ministry recently announced it would request funds to purchase an American missile defense system, known as Aegis Ashore, that can intercept missiles midflight above the atmosphere.
Even as they have grown anxious about the threats, the Japanese people, as citizens of the only country to have experienced the horrors of nuclear war, have remained steadfastly committed to Japan’s war-renouncing charter. Before the security laws were passed in 2015, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Tokyo to oppose them.
Protesters also regularly show up at American bases in Okinawa to object to the United States military presence. There are about 54,000 United States troops in Japan.
Analysts said members of the public had yet to reckon with just how far they were willing to go in the name of national security.
The Mount Fuji drills have a festival-like atmosphere, with people eating flavored shaved ice and snapping up T-shirts, model tanks and military-themed cookies at souvenir stands. Credit Tomohiro Ohsumi for The New York Times
“I think that ordinary people tacitly want to avoid thinking about a potential contradiction between the notion of the pacifist clause of the Constitution and the reality of changes in Japanese defense policies,” said Jiro Yamaguchi, a professor of political science at Hosei University.
Shinobu Mori, 52, who drove 120 miles with her daughter to attend the annual military rite near Mount Fuji, said she enjoyed the display but hoped the firepower would never actually be used. “I grew up in a peaceful era,” she said. “So I would like to pass that on to the next generation.”
Tuesday’s missile launch generated a sense of mild panic, with some private train lines halting service for about 20 minutes. An announcement at Tokyo station around 6 a.m. warned commuters that a missile from North Korea was flying over Japan and told them to take cover in a train car or waiting room.
I woke up with a Siren and an announcement that North Korea launched a missile that would possibly hit cities within Hokkaido. pic.twitter.com/RGiflzTqJT
— Joe (@jtnarsico) Aug. 28, 2017
On social media, one Twitter user described “a red pillar of fire” falling from the sky toward Hokkaido. “The only thing I can do is self-defense in this world,” he wrote. “It’s important to be ready. We cannot deny that World War III might be close.”
Japan has long interpreted its pacifist Constitution to allow it to conduct self-defense operations, and it has more than 225,000 active-duty troops and advanced armaments like naval destroyers equipped with sophisticated missile defense and fighter jets.
But over time, the government has nudged the definition of self-defense into a more assertive posture. Recently, it has quietly discussed the possibility of acquiring cruise missiles allowing it to pre-emptively strike a missile launch site if it detected signs of an imminent attack.
A boy watching the live-fire exercise on Sunday. According to polls by the prime minister’s cabinet office, the share of those who say they are interested in the Self-Defense Forces has risen in recent decades. Credit Tomohiro Ohsumi for The New York Times
Some analysts say Japan’s notion of pacifism has always contained contradictions.
“It is faux pacifism, and it always has been,” said Grant Newsham, a retired United States Marine colonel and a research fellow at the Japan Forum for Strategic Studies. “It is predicated on the perspective that Japan faces no threats.”
Indeed, from the moment it was inserted into the Constitution, the pacifist clause has been fluid, with the historian John W. Dower calling it “a miasma of ambiguity.”
Most experts say that it would be politically difficult to change the Constitution but that a debate needs to move from mainly political and academic circles to include the wider public.
“I don’t think it’s going to change, but the general public’s sentiment may be moving towards that direction if this threat continues to increase,” said Masako Toki, a research associate with the Nonproliferation Education Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
Liberals continue to oppose a military buildup in Japan, but some analysts say younger people don’t understand the dangerous stakes of tilting toward militarism.
“I think there is a whole generation that has basically not done a good job of going beyond embracing pacifism,” to explain to younger people why it is important, said Sabine Frühstück, professor of modern Japanese cultural studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the author of “Playing War: Children and the Paradoxes of Modern Militarism in Japan.”
“It’s one of these things that has become a black box in Japan,” Ms. Frühstück said of pacifism, “in the sense of ‘this is just what we got and how things are supposed to be.’”
Miyuki Nakayama, 23, a student leader of the Public for the Future, a group that opposes military action, said people had simply forgotten the lessons of World War II. “They don’t imagine a war might be real in the future,” Ms. Nakayama said.