'Flares' from fighter jets alarm residents
NHK -- Oct 16
The prefectural government of Hiroshima is asking the US military to clarify if some of its fighter jets conducted aerial training maneuvers that released flares above part of the prefecture, alarming local residents.

A number of people in Kitahiroshima Town captured video footage on Wednesday of what appeared to be flares coming from US military aircraft.

One of the residents says 2 aircraft were carrying out training exercises above their town for about 30 minutes. He said he sees fighters flying overhead several times a month, but this is the first time in about 20 years that he's spotted what looks like live flares.

Officials of the prefecture and the town believe the flares may be aerial infrared countermeasures used to distract heat-seeking missiles from the target aircraft.

The officials visited the local bureau of Japan's Defense Ministry in Hiroshima City on Monday and asked the ministry to confirm facts with the US side.

They said the ministry's official replied they are aware of what had been spotted, and have already asked the US military.

広島県北広島町の上空で今月、米軍機とみられる機体から火の玉が出たとの目撃情報が住民から町役場に寄せられていたことが15日、分かった。対空ミサイルの命中を防ぐために発射する火炎弾「フレア」の訓練だった可能性があり、同町は県を通じて国に事実関係を確認する方針。
News sources: NHK, Kyodo
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