A door weighing over 30 kilograms fell from an Air Self-Defense Force helicopter around 6:50 p.m. Tuesday during a flight over Okinoerabu Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, the Defense Ministry said.
There were no injuries reported from the incident.
The cargo bay door, which is about 1.6 meters long, 2.4 meters wide and 4 centimeters thick, fell in a location southeast of the ASDF’s base on the island.
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters Wednesday the door was discovered in a grassy area near the ASDF camp. He said he has ordered inspections of cargo doors on all helicopters of the same model used by the ASDF and Ground Self-Defense Force.
The door on the rear part of the CH-47J helicopter fell off during a nighttime landing drill in view of personnel at the camp.
The helicopter belongs to the ASDF’s base in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture.
Four members of the Naha helicopter airlift squadron of the ASDF’s Air Rescue Wing were on board the helicopter at the time of the incident.
“We have informed relevant local governments of the incident and offered an apology,” Onodera told reporters Tuesday. “We take the incident seriously,” he added.
Kagoshima Gov. Satoshi Mitazono on Tuesday called the incident “extremely regrettable” and asked for a thorough investigation.
“I want (the ASDF) to do its utmost not to impact the safety of the people of this prefecture,” he said.