The mayor of Ginowan, home to a key U.S. air base in Okinawa, urged the U.S. military Tuesday to jettison a plan to deploy 12 more Osprey transport aircraft at the base from early August at the earliest.
Mayor Atsushi Sakima said in a statement signed along with city assembly chairman Tsutomu Goya and five others, that the fresh deployment of the MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft at the Marine Corps Futenma Air Station "cannot be condoned, as the anxieties of our citizens and people of Okinawa have not been canceled out."
The statement also noted the first deployment of 12 Ospreys last October was "forced through" despite citizens' protest rallies.
Sakima told a news conference at the city hall the deployment "contradicts citizens' feelings and momentum to curtail base-related burdens" on Okinawa.
A commercial transport ship carrying the Ospreys, which left the U.S. mainland on July 16, is scheduled to arrive at a U.S. Marine Corps base in Iwakuni in western Japan in late July.
The Marine Corps plans to relocate the Ospreys -- which can take off as a helicopter and fly as an airplane -- to Futenma possibly in early August to replace all of the force's aging CH-46 helicopters.