US F-15 crashes off coast of Japan, adding to alarming tally

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US fighter jet crashes into sea off Japan - reports

A US F-15 fighter jet crashed off the southern coast of Japan on Monday (June 11), local media reported, adding that the jet's pilot ejected and was rescued by Japanese forces.

The cause of the 6:30 a.m. crash is under investigation.

The jet was flying out of the United States military facility of Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. A series of emergency landings and parts falling from USA military aircraft have highlighted safety concerns.

Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said he has told the USA military to take steps to ensure safety and prevent similar accidents.

Japan's Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) rescued the unnamed pilot, whose plane went down during a training mission.

The accident, which is now under investigation, is the latest in a string of mishaps involving U.S. aircraft in southern Okinawa.

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"The pilot successfully ejected and was safely recovered by search and rescue teams".

"If the problems remain unresolved and another crash occurs, people may become used to it and think that this is how things stand in Okinawa Prefecture", Onaga told reporters. "We would like to continue asking for their flight safety", said Itsunori Onodera, Japan's defense minister, to Japanese wire service Kyodo on Monday.

"Kadina has temporarily paused F-15 local training operations while the 18th wing reviews operational, maintenance and safety procedures with unit personnel", the release said.

The U.S. Air Force is also considering replacing the F-15s, worth around $36 million each, with F-16 fighting falcons by 2020.

The American military presence on Okinawa has irritated Japanese civilians on the island and created tension in the otherwise warm relations between the USA and Japanese militaries.

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