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USA fighter jet crashes into sea off Japan

USA fighter jet crashes into sea off Japan

The United States has halted F-15 training flights at Kadina Air Base in the Japanese province of Okinawa after a crash in which the pilot managed to eject, the US Air Force said in a press release on Monday.

An F-15 fighter crashed into the sea off Okinawa in May 2013. The Air Force pilot of the F-15C Eagle was recovered by members of Japan's Air Self-Defense Force based out of Naha, Japan.

Japan's public broadcaster NHK said the rescued pilot had a broken leg.

This May, 2017 photo shows a U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter jet at Kadena Air Base on the southern island of Okinawa in Japan.

The base is the US's main hub of airpower in the Pacific, according to its website.

Officials said the aircraft was conducting a routine training mission when it crashed.

"U.S. military aircraft accidents keep happening again and again", Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters at the ministry in Tokyo on June 11. The Air Force has launched an investigation following the accident.

After Monday's incident, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera once again called on the US military to ensure the safety of its aircraft and prevent future occurrences.

"I will ask for detailed reports about why it happened", he added.

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga also criticized the Japanese government, noting that a number of troubles with USA military aircraft have been reported over the past year.

"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", said Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga.

The accident is likely to fuel tensions with locals residents and politicians in Okinawa, many of whom are already uneasy at the heavy military presence in the region, which is home to around half of the 500,000 American troops stationed in Japan.