TOKYO, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Japan has asked the U.S. military to suspend its Osprey flights in Okinawa following a major accident Tuesday night in which two were injured, said the Japanese government.
Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said on Wednesday that she has asked the U.S. military to suspend Osprey flights until the cause of the accident is known and safety is ensured.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was quoted by local media as saying that the Osprey accident was "very deplorable."
Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, for his part, called the Osprey accident "outrageous."
A U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft belonging to the Futenma base in the city of Ginowan made a water crash-landing off Okinawa Tuesday night.
All the five crew members aboard were ejected out of the aircraft and were rescued and sent to a U.S. naval hospital. Two of them were injured.
The aircraft was believed to be in training when the accident happened.
Jeff Davis, a U.S. Defense Department spokesman, was quoted by local media as saying that the U.S. will get to the bottom of the cause of the accident to prevent it from happening again.
The U.S. military has deployed dozens of Osprey aircraft in its Futenma base in Okinawa, which has caused serious concerns from local people for a long time due to the American military tiltrotor aircraft's record of fatal accidents.
Tuesday night's accident was the first one involving the aircraft in Japan, but a number of accidents have been reported over the years in the U.S. and some other places, causing multiple fatalities.
The U.S. Futenma base is located in the densely populated urban area of Ginowan. The Japanese and U.S. governments have been seeking to move the base to the less-populated Henoko coastal area of Nago.
The people of Okinawa, however, have been demanding the Futenma base to be relocated outside the prefecture.