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Japan says no flights until Osprey confirmed safe

Ground crew members fit out a MV-22 Osprey at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan, Monday, July 23, 2012. A shipload of the U.S. military's latest transport aircraft arrived in Japan on Monday amid protests over safety issues that have aggravated longstanding grassroots concern over the presence of American bases in the country. Ground crew members fit out a MV-22 Osprey at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan, Monday, July 23, 2012. A shipload of the U.S. military's latest transport aircraft arrived in Japan on Monday amid protests over safety issues that have aggravated longstanding grassroots concern over the presence of American bases in the country. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)
By Eric Talmadge
Associated Press / July 23, 2012
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TOKYO—Japan's prime minister says he will not allow any flights of the US military's latest transport aircraft in this country until its safety after two recent crashes has been confirmed.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told Parliament on Tuesday that no flights would take place until investigations into the April and June crashes were completed and Japan was satisfied the aircraft are not a safety hazard.

The deployment of the MV-22 Osprey to a US base on the island of Okinawa has become a political headache for Japan because of intense local opposition. Okinawa hosts more than half of the roughly 50,000 US troops in Japan. The deployment of the aircraft has become a rallying point for base opponents.

The first 12 Ospreys headed for Okinawa arrived in Japan on Monday.

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