Tuesday evening’s Tokyo Shimbun ran a Kyodo report from Washington saying that an unnamed press official of the U.S. Navy told Kyodo on Aug. 29 that the U.S. military plans to deploy the Navy’s CMV-22 Ospreys in Japan from 2021 to 2026. The CMV-22s are expected to replace the two aging C-2 Greyhounds attached to the U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan based at Yokosuka. The U.S. military has already deployed the Marines’ MV-22 Ospreys at MCAS Futenma and plans to deploy the Air Force’s CV-22 Ospreys at Yokota Air Base in 2017. Although the U.S. military stresses the reliability of the Osprey, there is strong concern in Japan about the safety of the aircraft due to its history of crashes.
At present, more than 50 fighters and other carrier-born aircraft, including the two C-2 Greyhounds, are based at NAF Atsugi, but the Navy Ospreys are likely to be stationed at MCAS Iwakuni because the U.S. and Japanese governments have agreed to transfer the C-2 Greyhounds and other aircraft to Iwakuni as part of their efforts to reduce noise at Atsugi. When the USS Ronald Reagan operates in the East and South China Seas, the Navy Ospreys will probably move to the carrier from the Iwakuni base for missions such as transporting personnel, goods, and supplies.