It has been decided that U.S. President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, the first atomic-bombed city in human history, during the G7 Ise-Shima Summit in late May. He is reportedly considering using the Osprey for flights within Japan during his visit.
According to a government source, the U.S. side indicated it would like to use the Osprey. While it is possible to travel by train, car, or helicopter between the Central Japan International Airport and Kashikojima in Mie Prefecture, there have been no past cases of travel by train, while security arrangements would be a big headache for transfer by car because the motorcade would have to pass through urban districts. Helicopter is considered the best option. This government source said that “the Osprey is favored because of its short flight time.”
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other Japanese government officials will very much welcome Obama’s use of the Osprey. This will present a good opportunity to dispel persistent resistance to Osprey deployment and it is also hoped that “Obama’s visiting Hiroshima aboard an Osprey will turn a new page in the history of the Japan-U.S. alliance.”
On the other hand, the police are not keen on this idea. The Osprey would have to fly over the sea, so collaboration with the Japan Coast Guard is required. When Obama goes to Hiroshima, Abe and the other leaders will also go along, so security arrangements on an enormous scale will have to be put in place in Hiroshima. A police source complained that “there is already a serious manpower shortage because of the Kumamoto earthquakes…”