The Air Self-Defense Force grounded all nonessential aircraft Monday following a recent series of accidents involving its jets, the Defense Agency said.Operation of all aircraft except those on standby for emergency takeoff or obligatory missions was halted for one day to review safety, it said. The ASDF spent the day inspecting aircraft and urging aircrews to increase their safety awareness, it said.The ASDF made the decision to stand down after an accident Friday in which an F-4 fighter jet crashed into the Pacific on its way back to Misawa Air Base, Aomori Prefecture, after finishing drills. The bodies of the two pilots — 1st Lt. Tomohiro Suetake, 28, and 2nd Lt. Masahiro Ogasawara, 26 — were found Monday.In August, two ASDF pilots were killed when their F-1 fighter jets from Misawa Air Base crashed during a night-time low-altitude flying drill after a probable collision. In May, two ASDF members survived their midair escape from an F-4 jet that caught fire during dogfighting drills near Okinawa Prefecture.
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