In April Japan and the United States agreed to shift 9,000 U.S. Marines from the Japanese island of Okinawa to Guam and other Asia-Pacific sites as part of Washington’s strategic rebalancing, or “pivot”, toward the region.
But in recent months the planned deployment by the Pentagon of the Osprey helicopter-plane hybrid on Okinawa stirred up strong local protests, in the latest snag in U.S.-Japan security ties.
The Osprey can fly faster and further than conventional helicopters, making it easier for U.S. forces to respond to contingencies in areas away from Okinawa, such as Senkaku, but crashes in Morocco and Florida this year fanned safety concerns. ($1 = 78.6300 Japanese yen) ($1 = 6.3807 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka and Linda Sieg; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)