Japan's Defense Ministry is planning to deploy five Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft to a base in Kisarazu City east of Tokyo next March at the earliest, on a temporary basis.
Ministry officials are hoping to meet Kisarazu Mayor Yoshikuni Watanabe this month to ask for his cooperation regarding the ministry's plan to deploy the aircraft to a Ground Self-Defense Force base in the city.
This is part of the ministry's plan to deploy a total 17 Ospreys for use by the GSDF.
The ministry initially planned to deploy the first batch of five Ospreys last autumn at the Kyushu-Saga International Airport in western Japan. But the plan has been put off due to stalled negotiations with local fishermen who own part of the land for the airport.
The ministry is hoping to use the Kisarazu base as a temporary alternative base for the time being.
The ministry has made the choice because that base has already been used for maintenance of Ospreys deployed by the US Marine Corps in Okinawa.
Local residents in Kisarazu remain deeply concerned about the flight safety of Ospreys.
The Defense Ministry has maintained that Japan needs a deployment of Ospreys to strengthen its capabilities for defending remote islands.