National

WWII-era Zero fighter plane returns to Japan

Kyodo

A Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter plane has been unveiled to the media in Ayase, Kanagawa Prefecture, after the decades-old aircraft was returned to Japan in September.

Referred to as the Reisen, or Zero, the legendary fighter was a symbol of Japan’s aerospace engineering might during World War II.

Entering service for the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1940, these planes were manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The Tokyo-based branch of Zero Enterprise Inc., an enterprise based in Delaware, is spearheading a project to bring Zero aircraft back to Japan.

According to the company, the Zero unveiled on Wednesday is one of five such planes that have been stored or put on display in the United States and are believed to still be operational.

The plane is in several sections because it was disassembled prior to being shipped in a cargo container to the port of Yokohama in September. The firm hopes to reassemble the plane and fly it in Japan next year, the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.

The aircraft was originally found in Papua New Guinea in the 1970s and was later restored by a collector in the United States.

The fighter plane will be shown to the public from Nov. 21 to Nov. 24, for a fee, at Saitama Super Arena in the city of Saitama.