TOKYO: Thousands of people have rallied against U.S. plans to deploy Osprey aircraft on a southern Japanese island amid renewed safety concerns.
The protesters gathered Sunday at a seaside park on Okinawa to demand that the plan to deploy 12 MV-22 Osprey hybrid aircraft on the island be scrapped, saying they are unsafe. The U.S. plans to deploy the Osprey, which takes off like a helicopter and flies like an airplane, to replace older CH-46 helicopters that are already there.
Safety concerns boiled over after Osprey crashes in Morocco and Florida earlier this year. An incident in North Carolina last week that officials called a "precautionary landing" aggravated the sentiment.
The Osprey issue has also reignited longstanding anger over the heavy presence of American troops on Okinawa.