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10:56 AM, December 14, 2016
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US To Halt Osprey Flights in Japan Following Crash
The remains of an Osprey off the coast of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, are seen on Dec. 14, 2016. (Mainichi photo)

The U.S. will temporarily halt operations of the US Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft in Japan following the crash of one of the aircraft off the coast of the prefectural city of Nago last night.

US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy told Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on the morning of Dec. 14 that Osprey flights would be provisionally suspended as a result of consultations with U.S. forces, Mainichi Japan reports. She added that Washington would make close arrangements with Tokyo before resuming Osprey flights.

Two of the five crew members on the Osprey aircraft that crash-landed on the night of Dec. 13 off the east of Okinawa's main island were injured, in the first Osprey crash since the aircraft was introduced at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in the prefectural city of Ginowan in 2012.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has strongly urged the U.S. to investigate the cause and to take further safety measures. "The safety of Osprey flights is a major condition" for their operation, he said.

The crash-landing caused heavy damage, ripping off the wings from the body. It is possible the craft went out of control and crashed.

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