Press Conference

Extra Press Conference by the Defense Minister Nakatani(04:45-04:50 A.M. November 24, 2015 (Japan time))

Press Conference by the Defense Minister
Time & Date: 04:45-04:50 A.M. November 24, 2015 (Japan time)
Place: Camp H.M. Smith
(This is a provisional translation of an announcement by the Defense Minister and the Q&A session at the subsequent press conference for reference purposes only)
The original text is in Japanese.


2.Questions and Answers

Could you share with us about the meeting with Deputy Commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific?

He expressed his will to announce the cause of the accident, and I receive the document. He explained it orally to me, which was very thorough. There were three main causes. The first cause was on the flight plan. The second cause was on the decisions made by the pilots. The third cause was the problem of the engine, which was not the problem of structure though. To put it simply, they did not understand in advance that there were plenty of dust and pebbles on the landing zone, which was the problem of the flight plan. Then, under such circumstances, the pilots attempted to make landing twice. However, they did not make it in the end. As they remained in the zone for a long time, which exceeded the endurance time of the engine, foreign pebbles entered the inside of the engine. This posed a problem for the structure of engine and triggered off malfunction. Thus, there was no structural problem on the engine itself. As for this, they said they revised the manual so that the pilots can make adequate decision. As for future measures, it became clear that this accident happened because the aircraft remained in a cloud of dust for such a long time that it was more than expected for the design, the extremely rare cause. I understand that there is no fundamental problem in the design of MV-22. Moreover, I received the explanation that in the U.S. they would conduct recurrence prevention measures such as the revision of the manual that restricts the flying time in a cloud of dust and thorough education on the restriction on the flying time in a cloud of dust. With this in mind, Osprey will be operated safer than ever. Lastly, I made requests strongly to Deputy Commander. The first request is to make absolutely sure enforcing safety measures in relation to the flight of Osprey. The second is to consider thoroughly the impact on local people when flying. To sum up, I requested that the thorough consideration to minimize the impact on local people.

You said that you strongly requested. How did Deputy Commander respond to your request?

He said of course the U.S. would do so.

You said that there is no fundamental flaw in the structure. As for MV-22, the SDF have plan to introduce it. In connection with your visit to Saga Prefecture, what do you think of the impact of introducing MV-22 in Saga?

I understand from the explanation of the cause of the accident that there is no flaw or problem on its structure. I understand that it occurred because there was no thorough investigation before the flight and it remained in an abnormal circumstance longer than necessary. In the U.S., Osprey is operated normally. In this respect, I requested further safety measures. I would like to make explanations on these points when I returned to Japan.

Please allow me to make sure one point. Do you have no idea to change the plan to introduce Osprey to the GSDF?

I have boarded on Osprey for several times. I once again received the explanation on the cause of the accident, which was enough for me to understand the problem. Thus, I would like to proceed its introduction as it planned.