Kadena AB F-15C crashes into waters off Okinawa

Air Force base grounds F-15s after crash in Japan

The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force helicopter rescued the sole pilot, the news daily reported.

Reports say the pilot was taken by helicopter to a nearby USA naval hospital.

"We have been notified that the pilot is in serious condition".

Japan has about 200 F-15s deployed as the main aircraft of the Air Self-Defense Force.

The pilot managed to eject before the plane crashed and was reportedly in serious condition at a US Naval hospital, the release added.

Col. Richard Tanner, 18th Wing vice commander, thanked the Naha-based rescue squadron for its quick response.

Onodera said the Japanese government "requested [the USA investigators] share information with us and that they take firm safety measures to prevent a repeat".

"Accidents of US military aircraft are occurring repeatedly", he said, according to the Kyodo news agency.

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The F-15C Eagle based out of Kadena Air Base in Okinawa crashed in the sea off the Japanese island at around 6.36am local time on Monday, and the pilot was safely recovered after ejecting, the Air Force confirmed in a statement.

According to Stars and Stripes, this is the 12th crash involving US military aircraft this year.

Okinawa hosts the bulk of the United States military bases and assets in Japan, yet the island accounts for just a fraction of Japan's total land mass, Xinhua reported.

F-15 fighters have also crashed off Okinawa Prefecture in May 2013, January 2006 and August 2002.

The Okinawa Prefectural Government called on the US military to suspend F-15 flights for safety reasons.

"If that happens, we can not fulfill our responsibilities to our children and grandchildren", Onaga said.

The Japanese government is therefore moving ahead with the plan to relocate the airbase from an urban area in central Okinawa to the less populated Henoko district.

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