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Japan Osprey Aircraft Arrival Sparks Protests

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In this photo taken on Jan. 27, 2012 and released by U.S. Marines, an MV-22 Osprey with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron VMM-261 (Reinforced), 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, lands aboard the USS Iwo Jima during onload operations as the 24th MEU prepares for their final at-sea training exercise. Japan's Defense Ministry said the first U.S. Osprey military transport aircraft will arrive in Japan on Monday, July 23, 2012 despite opposition from residents over safety issues following two recent cra | AP

TOKYO — Japan's prime minister says he will not allow any flights of the US military's latest transport aircraft in this country until its safety after two recent crashes has been confirmed.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told Parliament on Tuesday that no flights would take place until investigations into the April and June crashes were completed and Japan was satisfied the aircraft are not a safety hazard.

The deployment of the MV-22 Osprey to a US base on the island of Okinawa has become a political headache for Japan because of intense local opposition. Okinawa hosts more than half of the roughly 50,000 US troops in Japan. The deployment of the aircraft has become a rallying point for base opponents.

The first 12 Ospreys headed for Okinawa arrived in Japan on Monday.

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