Japan approves U.S. Marine flights of Ospreys after crash

The U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft, which was based at an air base in Japan, crashed last Saturday while on exercises off the Australian coast, leaving three service members missing and presumed dead.

Itsunori Onodera, Japan’s new defense minister, had asked the U.S. to temporarily stop flying the aircraft in his country following the accident, the latest deadly incident involving Ospreys.

But on Friday, the defense ministry issued a statement saying that the U.S. military “is taking reasonable measures” and “the U.S. forces’ explanation that it can conduct safe flights of MV-22 Ospreys is understandable.”

According to a U.S. official, the Osprey crashed after clipping the back of the USS Green Bay while trying to land on the amphibious transport ship.

The MV-22 — a hybrid helicopter-turboprop — has two engines positioned on fixed wingtips that allow it to land and take off vertically. It can travel much faster than a helicopter.

The aircraft has been involved in a series of fatal incidents, mostly in the United States.

In April 2000, 19 Marines were killed in an MV-22 crash in Arizona.

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Japan on Friday said it would allow Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft to continue to operate in the country, accepting U.S. assurances that the flights are safe following a fatal crash off Australia. (Japan Today)

Police in Tokyo said Thursday they have arrested a 33-year-old woman on suspicion of murder after a man found in her apartment in Chiyoda Ward, died from stab wounds. (Japan Today)

A Japanese research group said Thursday it has found that chimpanzees have the ability to learn the rules of the rock-paper-scissors game. (Jiji)

A much-awaited steam locomotive went into service on Tobu Railway Co.’s Kinugawa Line in the city of Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, eastern Japan, on Thursday. (Jiji)

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An object appearing to be unexploded ordnance was found at disaster-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant by a worker, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., who reported the find to police. (Japan Times)

North Korea is considering a plan to simultaneously fire four intermediate-range ballistic missiles to areas around Guam through the sky above western Japan, state-run Korean Central News Agency reported on Thursday, quoting a senior military commander. (Jiji)

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