Japan F-35A pilot called a stop to mission before crash
Nikkei -- Apr 11
The pilot of a Lockheed Martin F-35A stealth fighter jet that crashed into the Pacific Ocean called an end to his training exercise just before the plane went down, it was learned Wednesday.

Japan's Defense Ministry has launched an investigation to determine the cause of Tuesday's crash, which will be carried out by the ministry's aircraft accident investigation commission. The Japan Air Self-Defense Force has requested the U.S. military's cooperation for the probe as well.

"I want to work toward preventing a recurrence as the investigation committee looks into the cause," Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters.

The downed jet was one of four F-35A planes to take off from Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture at about 7 p.m. Tuesday. It vanished from the JASDF's radar about 135 kilometers from the base over the Pacific after roughly 25 minutes. Iwaya confirmed earlier Wednesday that the aircraft had crashed.

The condition of the pilot, a major in his 40s with approximately 3,200 hours of flight time, including 60 hours in the F-35A, was unclear. The investigation committee will question the other three pilots who were involved in the training exercise.

This was the first time an F-35A had crashed anywhere in the world, according to the defense ministry. Japan grounded its other 12 fighters after the crash. The move will have no impact on its air defenses, however, because those planes were only deployed for training purposes.

The jets began to arrive at Misawa from January last year. The crashed aircraft was the first delivered plane, which was assembled at a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries facility in Aichi Prefecture from U.S. components.

Japan has gradually procured more F-35s, which the government considers its main next-generation fighter jet, as a replacement for the difficult-to-repair F-15.

News source: Nikkei
Feb 27
The Japanese government is stepping up its protective measures, with a proposed pause on large public gatherings. (NHK)
Feb 27
Suggestions by a senior International Olympics Committee member that the Tokyo Games could be canceled if the coronavirus outbreak is not contained by May drew a swift reaction from Japanese officials, while sponsoring companies are anxiously awaiting the fate of the world's biggest sporting event. (Nikkei)
Feb 27
A court in Japan on Wednesday ruled for the first time that special trials for segregated leprosy patients set up outside of standard courtrooms in the past were unconstitutional. (Japan Times)
Feb 26
National and other public universities in Japan have begun staging their entrance exams, with precautions taken against the new coronavirus. (NHK)
Feb 26
Japan's government has decided on a basic policy for measures to protect against a domestic outbreak of the new coronavirus. It includes asking people with minor symptoms to recuperate at home, in order to secure adequate care at medical facilities for those who are seriously ill. (NHK)
Feb 26
Black swans and domestic miscalculations push Abenomics to the brink (Nikkei)
Feb 26
Japan's Supreme Court rejected Tuesday calls by three survivors of 1945 U.S. atomic bombings to be recognized as sufferers of radiation diseases, which would cut their medical payments, ruling they do not meet the conditions for those in need of treatment. (Kyodo)
Feb 26
Japan will launch a review by the end of June aimed at tightening conditions for the export of coal-fired power plants, Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi said on Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Feb 26
All Nippon Airways Co. said Tuesday it will suspend all remaining flights from Kansai airport in Osaka to China next month due to a drop in demand following a coronavirus outbreak in the neighboring country. (Kyodo)
Feb 26
The Yomiuri Giants said Tuesday their two preseason games against Central League rival Yakult Swallows on the weekend will be played behind closed doors at Tokyo Dome amid the spread of a new coronavirus. (Kyodo)