“I wonder if the arrival of Ospreys at the Yokohama’s North Dock is in preparation for their deployment to Yokota.”
On the evening of April 3, a transport vessel appearing to be transporting Ospreys docked at Yokohama’s North Dock. Kiyoshi Hoshino (49), a member of “Rimpeace, a citizens’ group that monitors U.S. military bases in Japan, watched the arrival with a digital camera in his hand from the Osanbashi Yokohama International Passenger Terminal.
According to Hoshino, 13 U.S. military helicopters unloaded from a cargo ship at North Dock last September flew from there. “It was as if North Dock were used as an airfield or training range, despite the fact that it’s is a port facility.”
Ospreys have repeatedly caused mishaps even while still in the developmental stage. In 2016, after U.S. forces began flying Ospreys in Japan, one of them was wrecked in an unscheduled landing in waters off Nago City, Okinawa Prefecture. People voice strong concerns about safety. “Aircraft taking off from the north dock must fly over densely populated areas regardless of their flight path,” said Hoshino. This is the greatest problem.” The Kanagawa prefectural and the Yokohama city governments were notified of the arrival of Ospreys on the day they arrived. “Both the prefectural and city governments should take a firm stance with regard to such short notice,” stressed Hoshino.