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Japan asks U.S. to ground fighter jets after tank dumping case

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No one was hurt and no one died and no one had mental issues after the incident. Nothing happen to the people of Japan. Zero incidents of danger to anyone near or far due to this emergency landing.

-27 ( +22 / -49 )

well, they can ask but we all already know the US will just politely decline.

16 ( +23 / -7 )

Looks like the pilot should’ve chucked those tanks a few meters off into the ocean than where he or she did.

Although obviously it was an emergency and I don’t know what I am talking about really.

15 ( +21 / -6 )

Apparently for Americans, life in Japan is worth less than life in the US.

-15 ( +20 / -35 )

Well, it’s better to have no need for emergency landings in peacetime, but if the tanks had not been dumped, the plane would have exploded. It’s a good thing the tanks got dumped.

4 ( +16 / -12 )

Look on the bright side: free kerosene for the stove!

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

That's a reason to move the base to a nonpopulated area.

That way they don't have to pretend they care about the people

3 ( +15 / -12 )

Regrettable? Oh no!

Would you rather have a fighter full of fuel crash into a residential district?

6 ( +15 / -9 )

Lol...wrong land mass there Ian.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Do I have to state the oblivious? The pilot should of been more careful dropping the fuel tanks. Placing the safety of people before themselves. True I was not flying the F 16 but there was a Jr High School less than a km from the impact point. I need more information like the speed, altitude and direction of flight.

3 ( +14 / -11 )

No one was hurt and no one died and no one had mental issues after the incident. Nothing happen to the people of Japan. Zero incidents of danger to anyone near or far due to this emergency landing.

This time seems very lucky. No one knows next time. I wonder what if this incident were in the US.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

I see what’s the biggest issue, does anyone else notice this could have easily landed on that Temple Roof ? Or is that some fabulously wealthy person living on the property?

I’m assuming the aircraft was coming inland, if he dropped any later, it definitely would have done some significant damage or worse.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Take a shot when you read the word regrettable

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

would you ask JAL to stop all flights if something fell from their plane? No.

8 ( +16 / -8 )

would you ask JAL to stop all flights if something fell from their plane? No.

It seems to me there is a big difference between commercial airplane and drilling fighter jet. First, commercial airplanes try to avoid residential area as possible as they can, but fighter jet try not.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

Good, Japan is growing a spine.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

No one was hurt and no one died and no one had mental issues after the incident. Nothing happen to the people of Japan. Zero incidents of danger to anyone near or far due to this emergency landing.

12 bots/people voted this down? It’s a world gone mad.

-12 ( +7 / -19 )

Do I have to state the oblivious? The pilot should of been more careful dropping the fuel tanks.

Sigh. Only someone who has no experience in the cockpit of an aircraft that is experiencing an in-flight emergency can say something like that. When guages are rolling back to zero, warning horns are blaring and warning lights lighting up all over the instrument panel and with all that distraction the pilot has to figure out what the actual system failure is and then perform the memory items in the emergency procedure (EP) for that specific emergency. Sometimes you have cascading failures going on. You don't have time to pull out the checklist and find the right page, you do it all from memory and if that EP says drop the tanks you drop the tanks. The airplane is trying to kill you, maybe it is telling you it doesn't want to fly any more because it is becoming difficult to control and this fellow thinks the pilot has the time to fly around looking for the optimal place to jettison stuff so he pilot can make an emergency landing.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

It seems to me there is a big difference between commercial airplane and drilling fighter jet. First, commercial airplanes try to avoid residential area as possible as they can, but fighter jet try not.

That isn't true. Military aircraft use the same air routes, airport traffic patterns and instrument approach procedures as civil aircraft use. They all share the same airspace and outside of defined military training areas everyone follows the same ICAO rules. That supersonic fighter jet still has to stay below 250 knots inside terminal airspace same as commercial aircraft must. They have to file a flight plan if they intend to fly IFR and they obey the controllers instructions just like civil aircraft do.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Close call for the occupants of those houses indeed.

I need more information like the speed, altitude and direction of flight."

Why, are you involved in the investigation?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@Desert Tortoise

I doubt it. Some fighter jet pilots try to use residential area for training at low altitude because such training is more realistic fly. Some pilots fly off the routine routes intentionally, but not all pilots.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Michael Machida

No one was hurt and no one died and no one had mental issues after the incident. Nothing happen to the people of Japan. Zero incidents of danger to anyone near or far due to this emergency landing.

But that because of huge amounts of sheer stupid luck, not because the pilot (who might not have a choice) or his wing(who acted badly) controlled it somehow. I can't blame the pilot who might be figting for his life, but his wing claiming it was an unpopulated area was really bad.

Regarding your claim - I think the Japanese people don't like having their lives gambled like this - and that is the damage caused...

Zero dangers? They dropped it uncontrolled, didn't even recognized it came almost in the middle of a city... think again.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

America should take their troops and go back home, they don't belong to Japan and cause serious danger to the health and well-being of all citizens.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

It seems to me there is a big difference between commercial airplane and drilling fighter jet. First, commercial airplanes try to avoid residential area as possible as they can, but fighter jet try not.

Not true...commercial ANA flights into Haneda fly right over the very populated area above the Ebisu/Meguro area daily.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Its about time to pack and go back home boys.

Try to do this at your home country and dont pose danger to japanese public with your unprofessionality and arrogance.

Japan dont need foreign boots on its soil.

Cold war have ended a long time ago.

Its time to wake up and accept reality around you and understand your real position in world.

Its 2021 folks and your country need you at home.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

""after one jet dumped two fuel tanks in northeastern Japan before making an emergency landing ""

Normal procedure, better to have this fuel off the aircraft than with it in EMERGENCIES. fould have had them dumped over waters but for some reasons they could not!!!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Not true...commercial ANA flights into Haneda fly right over the very populated area above the Ebisu/Meguro area daily.

All people under new landing routes are opposing strongly everyday against the new routes, because airplanes many drop something someday. however government does not change it. Govt says 3:00pm - 7:00pm fly when regular landing routes have strong bad wind.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Would you have preferred a drop tank from a MIG-29 instead?

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

I'm quite sure that had the jet not dropped the tanks when it did, and the jet itself crashed into the residential area, there would be far more upset, especially if it was known he COULD have dropped the tanks but was waiting for the go-ahead from local residents.

Anyway, Kishida asking for the grounding while an investigation is made is reasonable, unless of course a couple of Chinese fighters decide to test the air-space boundaries and he immediately forgets the request and asks them to assist. China will be happy about it, at any rate.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

""Apparently for Americans, life in Japan is worth less than life in the US""

NOT TRUE at all, many have families in Japan and that's why they are still here!!!

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Some would argue that the Japanese government, having decided (regardless of protest from the fishing industry and our neighbouring countries) to dump hundreds of tons of untreated radioactive wastewater straight into the Pacific Ocean, might be well-advised to not make a scene about how dangerous dumping one thing is if you're foreign.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

I doubt it. Some fighter jet pilots try to use residential area for training at low altitude because such training is more realistic fly. Some pilots fly off the routine routes intentionally, but not all pilots.

No. You get flight violated and lose your wings. There are designated low level practice routes with a controlling agency providing safe separation between fights. You don't just go flying low level willy-nilly where you feel like in the US military.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

The headline alone is ridiculous enough. How many countries "ask" a foreign government to please behave in a certain way within their country. I suppose when it is an occupying force, it works out a bit different.

It frankly shouldn't matter the reason, if we accept that Japan is a sovereign nation than Japan should be able to tell US forces to ground their jets in Japanese airspace anytime they want. Even if they just didn't like their paint jobs, it shouldn't really matter.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Give me a break. Overreactions like this are precisely why no tourists will set foot in Japan until 2026.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Seems like necessary posturing by Japan. Japan has F-16s in their arsenal and uses them when China enters Japanese airspace. Had this been a Japanese F-16, we would be talking about something else.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Zero dangers? They dropped it uncontrolled, didn't even recognized it came almost in the middle of a city... think again.

It feel just in from the shoreline. I will bet the pilot thought both tanks would fall into the water. I would also bet the other tank is offshore somewhere close. I had an engine failure once with an external load, a big steel tank of diesel fuel we were taking to an oil rig in the jungles of New Guinea. With one engine out we had to get rid of that load, it was 6000 lbs. The remaining good engine was screaming and we were very badly over temping it. We tried to drop it someplace we thought was a grassy field, trying to avoid it going into a river and contaminating everyone's water. Turned out our "grassy area" was a swamp. Big mess. You folks have no idea what it is like to be fighting with an aircraft that is experiencing systems failures and trying to kill you. You don't have time to fly around looking for the perfect place to jettison things when you only have seconds before the aircraft maybe stops flying. When the EP says "Jettison cargo and land as soon as possible" you do exactly that.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

The JASDF does not have any F-16's. It flies the Mitsubishi F-2 which is based on the F-16.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Try to do this at your home country and dont pose danger to japanese public with your unprofessionality and arrogance.

Not all that long ago a California Air National Guard F-16 crashed into a warehouse in Riverside after the pilot ejected and you didn't hear this sort of whining from the locals. The pilot survived and to everyone's great good fortune nobody in the warehouse was killed or badly hurt. The engine quit and the pilot had to eject. Nobody second guessed the pilots decision. The local and state governments didn't demand the base close or anything. Emergencies like this are pretty rare. The F-16 has a very good safety record.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

This is an occupation in all but name. Japan is not a sovereign country and is just used (like the UK) as a forward defense base for the American Empire's interests. Spin it any way you want, but Japanese cannot really have pride in themselves and their country until this foreign military occupation is ended and their own military calls the shots in the defense of their own country.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

See, no one cares about the local population.

So to minimize the dangers it's best to relocate to a place as unpopulated as possible.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Desert Tortoise

They do... probably they cannot do that in the US, but they don't care as much in other countries. In Italy too, it happened many times. And they know that because it's not their country, they won't have big consequences... at worst they will be sent back to their country and.. almost that's all.

If you don't believe me you can check what happened in Cermis (Italy) in 1998.

Of course this is just an example, a big one, but many other small "accidents" happened all the time. And not just involving airplanes.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I hate to say it but it's really pathetic. The occupiers flagrantly endanger the lives of peaceful citizens just going about their business through flagrant negligence and plain old indifference and all the gov has to say is "please, pretty please with a cherry on top, pause flights" (over our lands).

3 ( +5 / -2 )

It isn't Riverside, California. It's an army of occupation, since 1945, flying over foreign soil.

Dropping fuel tanks in a residential area. Mistake or not. Illustrates the danger of fighter jets, one that belongs to a foreign country, flying over or close to residential areas. It is not a matter of inconvenience, it is dangerous and uncalled for, let alone should the US military remain in Japan.

Japan is simply another outpost for the American Empire aka Pax Americana. And treated like a vassal state.

A fighter jet crashes in Riverside, California and 'they don't whine about it'. What exactly does that illustrate and how is it possibly relevant and what does it say about obeisance and deference? It further begs the question, why would someone with such an attitude live in Japan?

5 ( +9 / -4 )

This needs to be investigated.

Sadly, I be the exact same thing that happens in the US when military planes drop stuff will happen in this situation too. The pilot will be reprimanded, but not grounded permanently, flight safety rules will be reviewed, but remain unchanged, and the large pieces will be carted away, leaving the toxic fuel behind. Same as in the US.

Japan knows this will be the outcome. The US knows this will be the outcome. In a week, all F-16s will be flying again.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

BTW, foreign pilots in training in the US have crashed multiple times. Because nobody was hurt on the ground, we worried more about the pilots and crew than the plane or ground. Ref:

https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-military/2021/02/20/2-pilots-one-us-one-japanese-killed-in-training-flight-crash-in-alabama/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mitsubishi place part upside down in a nuclear plant is this worse as this tank dumping ??

no apologies from Mitsubishi at the end .. so what is wrong

The only fact is that this plant exploded .. fukushima .. yes mistake nothing to see here and no excuse

how is it that Japanese only have to say sorry and can commit murder on big scale and not get any bad news ..

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Last week's water tumbler was not enough...Hold my Ashahi.. I gotta bigger one :D... seriously?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The pilot will be reprimanded, but not grounded permanently

If it was a system failure and the pilot followed the published emergency procedure there would no grounds for any kind of punishment. If anything you get a pat on the back for not crashing and saving everyone a lot of grief.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Emergencies could happen to any aircraft, whether it's military or civilian. And I agree with Desert Tortoise about everything he writes in his Dec. 2 08:50 am JST post.

The point at issue, however, is that there is no difference between Misawa Air Base, Kadena Air Base and Futenma Air Station as regards the probable occurrence of accidents. Accidents can happen anywhere. Note the fuel tank dropping accident on Tuesday was not the first accident that a Misawa-based fighter jet had caused. On Feb. 2, 2018, a similar accident occurred involving a Misawa-based jet fighter.

That much said, can the central government unashamedly tell us that the relocation of USMC Air Station Futenma to Henoko is the only option because the base poses danger to area residents at the current site? The Futenma air station is an illegal property per se, whereby it must be closed right then and there, and the land must be returned unconditionally with no strings attached. Period.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Big mess indeed. To be honest, it sounds like you are making an argument for the other side, because the incident you describe, and those like it, are exactly why people outside the US wish that the US military would spend a little less time in other countries flying their equipment about (although I appreciate that with your particular anecdote, it seems you had a job to do - and I'm not sure if this is a military story or a civilian one?).

It was with Columbia Helicopters. A week before my emergency we lost a load, a mud hut roof, and Chevron was just furious with us. When the engine failed the pilot in command, who was new to the job site but not new to the company, wanted to try to save the load fearing Chevron would be even angrier at us. He wanted to try to crest a ridge and bring the load back to the oil camp but the good engine was screaming. We had warning lights and horns going too. I pretty much forced him to follow the procedure, jettison the load and then showed him a little missionary airstrip we could land at before the good engine was fried too. I saw squadron mates in the same basic helo in the Navy go swimming because they pushed the good engine too far in a single engine situation and blew the good engine. Lesson learned. We were over limestone karst in the PNG highlands. Not somewhere you make a successful power off landing in any kind of aircraft. The investigation upheld my decision. I followed the procedures to the letter which is what is expected of a professional pilot and we saved ourselves and the aircraft. Our maintainers brought another engine out in another helo and did an engine change in the field.

Funny aside but this command pilot had just survived two other bizarre mishaps. He lost both engines going in to drop water on a forest fire ( dual sprag clutch failure which I have seen one other time) and ended up upside down in the trees, unconscious in a burning helicopter. His co-pilot got him out. Right after that he was logging in Oregon and thunderstorms swept in. We used 150 foot long lines under the helos to sling loads with. As he was setting the hook on the ground to land, lightning struck the helo and welded the flight controls on the rotor heads! There is no EP for this. The only way down was to pull the power levers slowly back. He survived that one too. So when I was told I was to be his co-pilot for his first flight at that job site I spent the morning furiously reviewing every EP in the manual, over and over, and OVER again. Mere minutes into the flight with full fuel and a heavy load and engine failed. Dude was jinxed.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I feel like it was some 20 year old trainee flying over a foreign country asking his Sargent what to do cause he used too much fuel.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

BTW, foreign pilots in training in the US have crashed multiple times. Because nobody was hurt on the ground, we worried more about the pilots and crew than the plane or ground. Ref:

I know Germany, Singapore, Taiwan all have training squadrons at US bases. All the F-35 partners and Foreign Military Sales customers train in the US. I had a good ride in a US Navy TA-4J piloted by a Royal Navy Lt CDR on exchange to a US Navy squadron.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

combination of "professionalism" and arrogance.

learn first-than fly.or go back to gliders!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

No. You get flight violated and lose your wings. There are designated low level practice routes with a controlling agency providing safe separation between fights. You don't just go flying low level willy-nilly where you feel like in the US military.

So many people saw and took pictures of aircrafts flying at such low altitude above not designated area/routes sometimes, especially in Okinawa. J government reported the US military commander but the US did nothing about their violations for many years, so still going on. Maybe maybe the US military don't want to lose pilots.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I love the arm chair pilots on here. My dad was a flight instructor, rotary type.

I have some training myself, if you weren’t there, you don’t know”.

And yes, in the event of Emergency, if deemed necessary, you’re going to dump excess fuel, period.

Doesn’t matter the aircraft type, Military or Civilian.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

The problem with the US military is that they think they are an autonomous institution above the rest of the people. They are not an integrated community and pretend that they have their own rules and social norms.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I guess that some folks would have preferred the pilot of the MIG-29 to crash on someone's house with a full load of aviation fuel instead of dumping the drop tanks.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

My dad once landed a helicoptor in a grocery store parking lot in NJ, due to a Transmission Failure Warning Light, it's not something you take lightly....that populated enough for you; stateside.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It's high time the rogue state of the USA hightailed out of here completely.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

When you have to go, you have to go….

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Very little collateral damage for having USA protecting you from Russia & China.

But yeah, complain ...

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Very little collateral damage for having USA protecting you from Russia & China.

But yeah, complain ...

Japan is a target for Russia and China only due to the presence of US occupation forces.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Very little collateral damage for having USA protecting you from Russia & China.

You hear that, people of Japan? Stop complaining and let the defenders of the Galaxy do their job.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Why ask?

Whose country is it anyway?

WTF are US military doing here?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

USA made Japan military weak after WW2. Depended on America. Before that Japan was strong enough to challenge all of you combine! Plus you still used nuclear weapons!

Now your complaining Japan is weak against Russia and China. Priceless. American way of thinking as always. Keep Japan behind economically and militarily then complain about Japan.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Not sure how the overall "safety" of the F-16 is in question--the tanks were dropped in an emergency, which is kind of what emergencies are. And if it is "unsafe"? Man, there's 40+ years of unsafe flying to tsk tsk over.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

USA made Japan military weak after WW2.

Definitely true.

Before that Japan was strong enough to challenge all of you combine!

Say what? Who is 'all of you'?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Before that Japan was strong enough to challenge all of you combine!

No they weren't, else they wouldn't have lost WWII.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Before that Japan was strong enough to challenge all of you combine!

While researching my graduate thesis I stumbled across a book written in the late 1930s by two Japanese economists assessing Japan's capacity to successfully wage a war against the US. Long story short, they were of the opinion that the Japanese economy was too vulnerable to being starved of resources, something the US by and large is invulnerable to, and the the US simply had a much larger economy that would soon out produce and crush Japan. That is pretty much what happened. Admiral Yamamoto was acutely aware of the fact that when he attacked Pearl Harbor the US Navy had more ships and deadweight tonnage under construction than it had in commission. He knew he had a year at most to cripple the US and force a surrender on terms favorable to Japan before all those ships hit the water and made victory impossible.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Another fuel tank that the F16 fighter jet had jettisoned before emergency landing was discovered in a forest in Fukauramachi, Aomori.

The Japanese side had filed a protest to the U.S. side, as usual, and asked for the suspension of the flight of all similar type jet fighters until the cause of the accident was cleared.

It was found, however, that the U.S. force had already restarted flight training. A deja vu scene, indeed. In Okinawa, that is nothing out of the ordinary. The U.S. forces are said to be stationed here to defend Japan, not to occupy it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The F-16 Aviator made the right call. Saved the jet and no one hurt.

That is huge in these Jets. Anyone in Aviation will tell you. Saving an F-16 is no easy feat.

in an ((((unpopulated)))) area close to Mt Iwaki in Aomori Prefecture.

Yes maybe a tank ruptured or lost integrity , Jet fuel leaked out, its an easy clean up.

2 hours max. Worse case 450 gallons leaked out. Never good, But better than hearing about someone hurt.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yes, the US military sincerely apologizes for this unfortunate incident, and vows that it will never, ever happen again, but if it does, rest assured that we will offer apologies that are even more sincere!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Christopher J. Thomas,

When a CH-53D helicopter crashed and burned on the campus of Okikoku University, causing no casualty by fluke, then Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machida came to Okinawa for first-hand observation of the crash site. The first words that came out of his orifice were: He was quite impressed with the highly skilled techniques with which the pilot maneuvered the helicopter to avoid a more serious case.

The point at issue should not be the pilot's maneuvering skills but the very fact that such accidents occur so frequently with a foreign military force that is stationed here, saying they are here to defend Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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