US F-15 fighter jet crashes into sea off Japan’s Okinawa

US fighter jets. (Reuters pic)

TOKYO: A US military F15 fighter jet crashed in waters off Japan’s southern island of Okinawa, where the bulk of US forces in Japan are based, during a routine training mission on Monday, US Forces Japan said in a statement.

The pilot, the only person in the aircraft, ejected successfully and was recovered by search and rescue crews, the statement said. A board of officers would investigate the incident, it said.

Many residents of Okinawa associate the US military bases with crime, accidents and pollution and want them moved off the island. A series of emergency landings and parts falling from US military aircraft have highlighted safety concerns.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is moving ahead with a contentious plan to relocate the US Marines’ Futenma airbase from an urban area in central Okinawa to the less populated Henoko district of Nago city in the island’s north.