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SECURITY > Okinawa

Osprey accident first reported as ‘crash,’ designation later changed to ‘emergency landing’

  • January 27, 2017
  • , Ryukyu Shimpo , p. 1
  • JMH Translation

NAGO – The Okinawa Defense Bureau called the December 2016 crash of an Osprey in waters off the coast of the Abu district of Nago City a “crash” in its report to Nago City made shortly after the incident, it has been learned. Since the day after the accident, however, the Japanese government has called it an “emergency landing at sea” while the U.S. Marines have termed it a “landing in shallow waters.” Although the Defense Bureau used the term “crash” in its initial report to the Nago government, it changed the term in its official announcement.


The U.S. Naval Safety Center classified the crash as a most serious “Class A” accident since the fuselage was seriously damaged. It is possible that both Japan and the U.S. changed the terms they were using with an eye to softening the impression of the matter as a serious accident.


Ryukyu Shimpo queried the Defense Bureau on Jan. 26 on the background to its initially reporting the accident as a “crash” to Nago City and asked why the Bureau changed the term to “emergency landing at sea.” The Bureau did not respond within the day, however.


The Osprey crash occurred around 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 13. According to Nago City’s public affairs section, the manager of the relevant department at the Defense Bureau called the section chief of the public affairs section at 11:07 p.m. on Dec. 13 to report that “an Osprey stationed at the Futenma Air Station crashed” and stated that the time and place of the accident was “unclear.” Around 00:50 on Dec. 14, U.S. Marines Okinawa announced that “an Osprey landed in shallow waters off Camp Schwab.”

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