Japan to Ask U.S. Military to Ground F-16 Fighters


Tokyo/Aomori, Dec. 1 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Defense Ministry plans to ask the U.S. military to ground its F-16 fighter jets until their safety is confirmed, after a U.S. military plane of the same model dropped two fuel tanks in northeastern Japan, informed sources said Wednesday.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Wednesday that the government had conveyed to the U.S. military its view that the incident was regrettable. It also asked the U.S. side to find the cause of the incident and implement preventive measures.

"An incident like this, which worries local residents, should never occur," Matsuno, Japan's top government spokesman, told a press conference. "We'll cooperate with the United States to ensure thorough safety management."

At around 6 p.m. Tuesday (9 a.m. GMT), the F-16 fighter jet from the U.S. military's Misawa Air Base in the northeastern Japan prefecture of Aomori dropped the two tanks before making an emergency landing at Aomori Airport and one of the tanks was found in an urban area in the town of Fukaura in Aomori.

The tanks were dropped in an apparent effort to prevent fire during an emergency landing.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press