Kadena Grounds F-15 Flights After Crash; Pilot in Serious Condition

The pilot survived after ejecting before the plane crashed

The pilot survived after ejecting before the plane crashed

After Monday's incident, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera once again called on the USA military to ensure the safety of its aircraft and prevent future occurrences.

About an hour after receiving the initial information, Japanese military officials spotted and rescued the pilot who sustained "non-life-threatening" injuries, Onodera said.

US Forces Japan confirmed the incident, which happened during a routine training mission.

The cause of the 6:30 a.m. crash is under investigation. About half of the 50,000 American troops in Japan are stationed on the southern island.

"The safety of our aircrews and the local community remains a top priority", it said.

"We can not fulfill our responsibilities for our children and their children if such a situation becomes the norm", he said.

These include an object weighing 1.4kg dropping off a US F-15 fighter jet during a flight in Okinawa in February, while a MV-22 Osprey crash landed into water, injuring two people, last year.

Calling for a detailed report into the latest incident, Itsunori Onodera, Japan's defence minister, told Kyodo news agency: "Accidents of United States military aircraft are occurring repeatedly".

"We can not fulfill our responsibilities for our children and their children if such a situation becomes the norm", he said.

Okinawa hosts the bulk of US military facilities in Japan and the accident is likely to renew concerns among residents about the safety of USA military aircraft.

Kadena town mayor Hiroshi Toyama said: "The aircraft just happened to drop into the sea today", indicating that it could have fallen somewhere more risky.

In March, Japanese officials called on the USA military to provide information after an antenna fell from an Okinawa-based F-15 on February 27.

F-15 fighter jets are twin-engined tactical fighters that were initially envisioned as a pure air superiority vehicle.

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