The pilot reportedly ejected from the aircraft, although his present condition is unknown, Japanese authorities told local media. The US fighter jet belonged the American Kadena airbase in Okinawa, Kyodo reported, citing government sources.
Japanese media reported on a second pilot that ejected from the aircraft, whose condition is also not known.
Japanese coast guard and self-defence forces responded to the incident, reportedly dispatching an urgent rescue team to the crash site. According to the Kyodo news agency, the US warplane crashed into the ocean soon after take off. The reason for the crash is not known.
The US military maintains a substantial presence in Japan, with US Forces Japan (USFJ) consisting of approximately 50,000 military personnel. A large number of US bases are hosted by Okinawa, but there have been some tensions between the prefecture's local residents and the US military, in part, over aircraft incidents and accidents related to troops' behavior.
According to Reuters, many locals associate the US military bases not only with incidents but with crime and pollution as well and want them moved off the island. Moreover, Japanese authorities are reportedly moving ahead with a plan to relocate the US Marine Futenma airbase from an urban area in central Okinawa to the less populated districts in island's north.
Following the crash of the US F-15C Eagle jet, the Japanese Defense Ministry reportedly called for the improvement and safety of US military flights in the region.