TOKYO (Reuters) – A U.S. military F15 fighter jet crashed in waters off Japan’s southern island of Okinawa, where the bulk of U.S. forces in Japan are based, during a routine training mission on Monday, U.S. Forces Japan said in a statement.
The pilot, the only person in the aircraft, ejected successfully and was recovered by search and rescue crews, the statement said. A board of officers would investigate the incident, it said.
Many residents of Okinawa associate the U.S. military bases with crime, accidents and pollution and want them moved off the island. A series of emergency landings and parts falling from U.S. military aircraft have highlighted safety concerns.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is moving ahead with a contentious plan to relocate the U.S. Marines’ Futenma airbase from an urban area in central Okinawa to the less populated Henoko district of Nago city in the island’s north.
Reporting by Kaori Kaneko in Tokyo and Phillip Stewart in Washington; Writing by Linda Sieg; Editing by Paul Tait