The V-22 Ospreys bound for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) arrived at Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, May 8, 2020.
Their return to flight condition remains linked to the possibility of bringing American technicians to Japan, itself linked to the ban lifting on foreigners entering the country during the period of coronavirus infections.
In any case, the Japanese Ministry of Defence has not changed the planned date for the deployment of these aircraft in Kisarazu, which is still scheduled for the end of June.
The Ro-Ro that delivered the V-22s to Iwakuni had briefly stopped at the US military port of Naha, Okinawa, on 6 May. Although the reasons for the stopover are not known (the U.S. military port is exempt from Japan’s cargo reporting requirements), the Japanese press assumes that U.S. Marines personnel certified for V-22 maintenance were on board to put the aircraft back in flight.
In Kisarazu, the first echelons of the Air Transport Corps in charge of implementing the V-22s are waiting for the aircraft that should arrive by air.
The Japanese Ministry of Defense officially procured 17 V-22s in November 2014. The first V-22 for Japan was delivered in August 2017 but arrival of the first aircraft was delayed until now amid opposition and ongoing negotiations in the Saga prefecture, where the aircraft are to be based.
The V-22 will help reinforce the JGSDF newly created amphibious brigade: The change in threat environment has required JMOD to focus on the Southwestern island defense, which led to a creation of Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB).