• Kyodo

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A U.S. F/A-18 fighter jet flew over an elementary school in Miyoshi, Hiroshima Prefecture, at a dangerous and illegally low altitude in December, the Japanese Communist Party’s local chapter said.

According to an investigation by the party’s Hiroshima prefectural committee, the aircraft flew over the school at an altitude of about 200 meters around 1:20 p.m. Dec. 20, in violation of the Aviation Law, which sets the minimum level at 300 meters.

The committee said it has asked the Hiroshima Prefectural Government to urge the U.S. military to stop low-altitude flights, adding the flyby also violated a Japan-U.S. agreement that calls on American forces to show consideration over flight training around schools and hospitals.

A senior prefectural official described the incident as “problematic.”

Using a GPS system, pictures of the aircraft taken by a local journalist and eyewitness accounts, the committee estimated that the U.S. fighter flew about 190 meters above the highest structure in Miyoshi and about 204 meters above the ground.

A number of low-altitude flights by U.S. fighter jets have been reported in the prefecture and a number of local governments have repeatedly asked the Japanese and U.S. governments to put an end to them.

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