National

Air Self-Defense Force confirms safety of Japan's F-35 fighter jets after U.S. crash

JIJI

The Air Self-Defense Force has confirmed the safety of the nine F-35A cutting-edge stealth fighters deployed at its Misawa base in Aomori Prefecture, after an F-35B belonging to the U.S. military crashed in South Carolina.

The move came on Friday, after the U.S. military halted operations of all its F-35s in the wake of the accident.

According to the Defense Ministry’s Air Staff Office, a U.S. investigation found a glitch in a fuel pipe.

Since the Japanese F-35s use different types of parts, Yoshinari Marumo, chief of staff at the ASDF, told a news conference that there would be “no impact on the safety of flights.”

A demonstration flight will be conducted as planned Sunday at the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Asaka training field in Saitama Prefecture, staff office officials said.

On Sept. 28, a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B with short-range takeoff and vertical landing capabilities crashed in South Carolina.

After the investigation revealed possible faults in the aircraft, the U.S. military temporarily suspended operations for all of its F-35s, both at home and overseas, in order to complete inspections.

In Japan, 16 F-35Bs are deployed at the U.S. Marine Corps’ Iwakuni base in Yamaguchi Prefecture.