After emergency landing in Japan, country wants to temporarily ground all F-16 fighters

Six U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons sit on the flight line during an aviation training relocation at Komatsu Air Base, Japan, Oct. 1, 2019. The pilots spent four days conducting within-visual-range air-to-air combat training with Japan Air Self-Defense Force pilots, improving tactical strength, friendship and their alliance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Collette Brooks)


Tokyo — After the emergency landing of a US F-16 fighter jet in Japan, Defence Minister Nouo Kishi wants a temporary grounding of this type of aircraft in the country.

Kishi called on the US military to take this step on Wednesday, the Japanese news agency Kyodo reported.

He took the incident “very seriously,” Kishi said. Flights by these aircraft should be suspended until their safety could be confirmed.

On Tuesday, an F-16 in north-eastern Japan jettisoned two fuel tanks before being forced to make an emergency landing at Aomori airport due to in-flight problems.

According to the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa Air Force Base, the tanks were dropped over unpopulated areas in Aomori prefecture.

Police had found pieces of metal and liquid that could have come from the tanks about 20 to 30 metres away from houses in the town of Fukaura, according to Kyodo.

The US is Japan’s protecting power. The incident is reportedly the latest in a series of similar incidents involving US fighter jets in the north-eastern prefecture.

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