US military resumes flights of Osprey aircraft stationed at base in Tokyo

The US military has resumed flights involving Osprey transport aircraft stationed at the Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo. This comes after it suspended such flights following a fatal crash late last year.

The crash of the tilt-rotor aircraft occurred off the southwestern Japanese prefecture of Kagoshima in November. All eight crewmembers on board were killed.

After the accident, the US military grounded Ospreys of the same type, including five that are stationed at the Yokota Air Base.

On Tuesday morning, Japan's Defense Ministry said it had confirmed that one of the aircraft took off from the base and flew for about 15 minutes.

Footage taken by a camera installed by NHK near the base also shows one Osprey at the base taking off and flying away.

Japanese defense officials say they received no prior notice from the US side about the resumption of flights.

The US military has been gradually resuming operations involving the Ospreys at the Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station, which is located in the southern Japanese prefecture of Okinawa, and elsewhere since March. The accident is still being investigated.

The military indicates that operations could fully resume after the middle of next year.

Japan's defense ministry says it has confirmed with the US side that safety measures are being taken before the flights resume. The ministry adds that it has not received any information regarding flights involving individual aircraft.

The ministry says it will make every effort to ensure safety by coordinating closely with the United States.