Japan defense chief mulls asking U.S. to review CV-22 deployment plan

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera on Sunday suggested that he will ask U.S. Forces Japan not to deploy the CV-22 Osprey transport aircraft in Okinawa, where an additional fleet of a U.S. Marine Corps variant of the tilt-rotor aircraft is currently being deployed.

"We cannot place an excessive burden on the people of Okinawa anymore," Onodera said in a television program when asked about the U.S. Pacific Air Forces' plan to bring CV-22s to Japan.

Okinawa residents have been opposed to the U.S. Marine Corps' MV-22 deployment in Japan's southernmost island prefecture, which began last year, due to its history of accidents and the heavy concentration of U.S. military bases there.

The U.S. Pacific Air Forces commander said late last month the Yokota Air Base in Tokyo is a possible host site for the CV-22 besides the Kadena base in Okinawa and the final decision will likely be made by early next year with the possible deployment taking place in 2015.