Mass protest in Japan against US hybrid aircraft
TOKYO (AFP) - Tens of thousands of people rallied on Japan's southern island of Okinawa on Sunday against the deployment of US Osprey military aircraft after a series of accidents elsewhere involving the planes.
Protesters demanded the United States and Japan immediately scrap plans to deploy 12 MV-22 Ospreys at the Futenma US base on Okinawa and shut down the Futenma base in the crowded city of Ginowan.
The turnout at the main rally was estimated by organisers at more than 100,000. Okinawan media put the number at "tens of thousands". "We don't want the Osprey, the world's most dangerous aircraft" read a placard at the mass rally at a seaside park near the base, according to television footage. "Osprey. No!" said another.
Similar rallies were staged on two smaller islands in the Okinawa island chain and in Tokyo several thousand people circled the Japanese parliament building. The Osprey has rotors that allow it to take off like a helicopter. It can refuel in the air, allowing it to cover big distances in a region where concerns have mounted over the rise of China.