Kishi Protests to Austin over F-16 Fighter Incident


Tokyo, Dec. 3 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi lodged a protest with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday over the risky dropping of fuel tanks by a U.S. F-16 fighter jet.

In phone talks with Austin, Kishi described the incident as "an extremely regrettable case linked to the safety of residents" and demanded that the U.S. side puts top priority on safety.

The protest came after an F-16 jet belonging to the U.S. military's Misawa Air Base in the northeastern Japan prefecture of Aomori dropped two fuel tanks before making an emergency landing at Aomori Airport shortly past 6 p.m. on Tuesday (9 a.m. GMT).

Kishi also expressed his regret over the U.S. military's continued flight operations of its F-16 jets without giving explanations on safety measures.

In reply, Austin promised that the U.S. side will thoroughly investigate the incident and put top priority on safety, according to a Japanese official familiar with the phone talks.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press