On February 28, 2013, the US Forces in Japan informed the Defense Ministry that it will conduct low altitude flight training of three MV-22 Osprey aircraft in mainland Japan. A transport Aircraft containing the three tilt rotor planes will be moved from the US Marine Corps Air Station based in Futenma, Ginowan in the Okinawa Prefecture, to a US Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture. This will be done mainly for training purposes, which will take place between March 6 2013 to March 8, 2013.
The Defense Ministry said that the training will take place at the Iwakuni base. The Ospreys will fly at an altitude of more than 500 feet, which roughly about 150 meters, during the day time and more than 1,000 feet at night.
This will be the first time that the controversial Osprey aircraft will be used for training purposes on the Japanese mainland. The US Forces in Japan have also suggested that the training be expanded to Camp Fuji in the Shizuoka Prefecture and the US Naval Air Facility Atsugi in the Kanagawa Prefecture.
A member from the Awakuni city assembly has expressed concern over the planned Osprey flights. Jugen Tamura said, “The low-altitude flight training is dangerous. I’m concerned that there may be an accident”. Tamura added that the Osprey issue tended to be seen as a concern only in Okinawa and Iwakuni.