A demonstrator holds a banner during protest in front of the parliament building in Tokyo on September 9, 2012 against the deployment of US Osprey military aircraft in the city of Ginowan in Japan’s Okinawa prefecture.
Tens of thousands of people rally in Japan against the US plan to fully deploy its Osprey hybrid aircraft on the country’s Okinawa prefecture in the next month.
The protests took place on Saturday, including in Tokyo where demonstrators gathered in front of the parliament building to voice their opposition to the plan, scheduled for completion in the prefecture’s city of Ginowan, AFP reported.
The Osprey is equipped with rotors that facilitate take-off like a helicopter and engines that can tilt forward, powering it to fly like an airplane at much faster speed than a chopper.
It is considered pivotal to Washington’s ambitions of force realignment in Asia-Pacific, and enables the US marines to fly farther and with bigger loads from Okinawa to remote islands in Japan.
The aircraft, however, has had multiple malfunctions and many accidents since its early years in 1990s.
Okinawa has become known as the site of enduring tensions with the US forces deployed there, and hence a lasting source of conflict between Washington and Tokyo. Pacifist inclinations as well as security and safety concerns have prompted the Japanese to protest against the deployment.