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MARCH 2021

US Air Force F-35 Made Emergency Landing In Okinawa

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US Air Force F-35 Made Emergency Landing In Okinawa

An F-35A performs a test flight on March 28, 2013. Lockheed Martin

A US Air Force F-35A fighter jet made an emergency landing at a base in Okinawa on November 8, Japan Today reported.

According to the US Air Force, the jet made a “precautionary landing” at the US Kadena Air Base. But the Kadena town government said it was an “emergency landing,” citing an observation by one of its officials who saw two fire trucks on either side of the runway during the landing. The US Air Force said it was a minor incident and “there was no appreciable risk of injury or property damage.”

A dozen F-35As belonging to a US Air Force base in Utah flew to the Kadena base from late October to early November for a six-month rotation. The controversial jet’s design has been criticized in detail, with Pentagon analysts citing flight control problems and numerous components of the aircraft being unreliable.

After decades of hosting the bulk of US military facilities in Japan, many people in Okinawa are frustrated with noise, crime and accidents linked to the US bases. Recently, safety concerns have been rekindled over a series of accidents involving US Marines Osprey aircraft and a transport helicopter stationed in Okinawa. Okinawa makes up less than 1% of Japan’s total area, but hosts three-quarters of US bases and more than half of the 47,000 US troops stationed in the country, a burden that has added to anti-base sentiment.

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