News: MV-22 Osprey makes public debut in Mainland Japan during air show
Story by Cpl. Benjamin Pryer
JAPAN AIR SELF-DEFENSE FORCE NYUTABARU AIR BASE, Japan - Japan Air Self-Defense Force Nyutabaru Air Base, located in Miyazaki Prefecture, hosted its annual air show Dec. 1, 2013. While an overwhelming majority of attendees were from Japan, one of the most adored static display was American.
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 displayed one of their MV-22 Osprey during the event, drawing both the eyes and interest of all in attendance.
The air show marked the first time an Osprey was on static display, for the public, on mainland Japan.
The Nyutabaru Air Base Public Relations Office announced approximately 120,000 people attended the air show, more than doubling the count of last year’s event.
“I’m so grateful to have the Osprey at our JASDF open house event in consideration of the deepening and strengthening of the U.S.-Japan alliance,” said Col. Tatsuya Saruwatari, head of the Public Affairs Office, Air Staff Office, Ministry of Defense for Japan. “I think this is critical to get a better understanding of the Osprey’s capabilities, and its role in missions, to the Japanese public.”
Saruwatari said he wishes for more events involving American aircraft to take place and welcomes more of America’s aircraft in the future.
“I think this helps a lot to deepen and win the understanding of the Japanese public, by seeing the aircraft in the real world at a close distance,” said Saruwatari. “Last year, the people didn’t have that kind of first-hand experience with the Osprey, so there were rumors coming out about the Osprey crashing and that mindset was established. Through events like this, people have the opportunity to interact with crewmembers of the Osprey and see the Osprey up close. I think this will be a great opportunity to help them better understand the aircraft.”
Japanese residents traveled from all parts of the country, some specifically coming to see the Osprey.
“I came here because I heard the Osprey was going to be displayed at Nyutabaru Air Base during the open house event, and I was so looking forward to talking to the aircrew of the Osprey,” said Toshikazu Tagawa, an Iwakuni resident. “Since they are deployed on Futenma on Okinawa, I don’t have any good opportunities to talk to them. As part of the Osprey Fan Club, we clean up the base boundaries and organize cleanup effort campaigns, so I wanted to tell them what we are doing in support of the Osprey.”
Tagawa mentioned his wish to see more opportunities for public viewing of the Osprey in hopes of further informing other Japanese people about the new aircraft that now resides in their country.
“There are a lot of people in the Japanese public who support the Osprey’s presence in this region, and who understand the safety record of the Osprey, and the capabilities it brings,” said Tagawa. “It’s going to benefit the Japanese community, so I would like there to be more events like this in order to spread the idea throughout Japanese residents.”
At the conclusion of the air show, spectators were able to witness the Osprey depart the airspace. While thousands of people stopped in their tracks, the aircraft lifted off the ground, rotated its engines, and disappeared into the horizon.