New transport aircraft MV-22 Ospreys operated by the U.S. Marine Corps were stationed at Yokota Air Base in Fussa City, Tokyo, for a record 18 straight days from March 5 to 22, Tokyo Shimbun learned from “The Nishitama Association,” a citizens’ group calling for the removal of Yokota Air Base. During the 18-day period, the group recorded a total of 104 takeoffs/landings by the MV-22s, which is equivalent to the total counted over past two years.
Five MV-22 Ospreys arrived at Yokota Air Base on March 5 from the U.S. military Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture via Iwakuni Base in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Another MV-22 arrived at Yokota on March 7, bringing the total of such aircraft at the base to six, also a new record. All six aircrafts left the base on March 22.
The six MV-22 Ospreys conducted their own training at the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) Higashi-Fuji exercise range in Shizuoka Prefecture, and participated in a Japan-U.S. joint exercise conducted at the GSDF Somagahara exercise range in Gunma Prefecture and the GSDF Sekiyama exercise range in Niigata Prefecture. Yokota Air Base was used for maintenance and refueling of the Ospreys.
Yokota Air Base recently announced that the deployment of CV-22 Ospreys for the U.S. Air Force, originally scheduled for late 2017, will be postponed for up to three years. (Abridged)