"Secretary Panetta is pleased that we have been able to reach agreement with the Government of Japan that permits the Osprey to commence flight operations in Japan. This agreement was the result of a deep partnership and thorough process that allowed both sides to reconfirm the safety of the aircraft. It is a testament to the strength and maturity of our Alliance, which remains the cornerstone for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
"Secretary Panetta has placed a high priority on reaching this agreement, directed numerous senior officials at the Department of Defense to work on this issue over the past several months, and raised the issue in multiple discussions with Foreign Minister Gemba and Defense Minister Morimoto, including earlier this week.
"The Osprey will provide a critical capability that strengthens the United States' ability to defend Japan, perform humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, and fulfill other Alliance roles. With twice the speed, three times the payload, and four times the range, the Osprey will make a major contribution in upgrading the capabilities of the Alliance."