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US presence on Okinawa protested

Protesters in Tokyo on Sunday rallied against US military bases on Okinawa and the use of Osprey aircraft.

Rie Ishii/AFP/Getty Images

Protesters in Tokyo on Sunday rallied against US military bases on Okinawa and the use of Osprey aircraft.

TOKYO — Thousands of people rallied Sunday against American deployment of ­Osprey military aircraft on a southern Japanese island amid escalating anti-US military sentiment following recent crimes.

Protesters gathered at a Tokyo park demanding removal of 12 Osprey hybrid aircraft from Okinawa.

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Ospreys were deployed in October despite local opposition over safety concerns following two crashes elsewhere.

Anger is running high days after a US airman allegedly assaulted a teenage boy on Okinawa.

That came just two weeks after a curfew was imposed on all 52,000 American troops in Japan following the arrest of two Navy sailors in the alleged rape of a local woman.

More than half of the US troops in Japan are on Okinawa.

Also Sunday, the government postponed a decision on whether a fault line underneath Japan’s only operating nuclear plant is active and the facility should be closed.

A five-member team commissioned by the Nuclear Regulation Authority inspected the Ohi plant in western Japan last week.

They will meet again this week.

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