Saturday, September 7, 2013

Japan to widen training area of accident-prone Osprey - WORLD -

Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Friday that joint training drills between Japan and the United States using the MV-22 Osprey aircraft, will be expanded to Shiga and Koichi prefectures in western Japan in October.

The move comes as the government is trying to ease the base hosting burdens of Okinawa and its people who shoulder the bulk of US bases in Japan.

Onodera said he will try to seek the approval of local officials in the two western prefectures for the training drills, which will be the first of their kind held outside Okinawa.

The defense ministry said that the drills in Shiga Prefecture, planned for mid-October, will involve joint "heliborne" operations between Japan and the US, during which troops will descend from the aircraft to the ground using ropes, while the aircraft is hovering.

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