00:02 GMT +322 October 2018
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    An F-15 Eagle American fighter. (File)

    US F-15 Fighter Jet Crashes Into Sea Off Okinawa - Reports

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    The incident reportedly occurred some 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the Southern Japanese coast, NHK reported Monday.

    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.

    According to Reuters, US military spokespersons confirmed the crash of an F-15C Eagle off the Okinawa coast during a routine training mission, adding that there was only one person in the aircraft that successfully ejected and had been safely recovered.

    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.

    The number of incidents involving US military personnel and equipment in Japan has recently increased, fueling the nation's opposition to the local US military bases. Particularly, in January, two US attack helicopters from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma made emergency landings in the Okinawa prefecture in two separate incidents, prompting public concerns.

    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.

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    Tags:
    jet, pilots, crash, US Kadena airbase, F-15, Japan, Okinawa
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