Debris of missing Japan fighter jet found, pilot missing

Wreckage from a Japanese F-35A stealth fighter jet has been found a day after it disappeared off the radar over the Pacific, the country’s defence minister said on Wednesday.

The country’s Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya said there was no word yet on the fate of the one pilot on board the jet. It was the first reported case of a crash by an F-35A, according to Japan’s Air Self-Defence Force.

The fighter jet went missing around 7:30 pm (1030 GMT) Tuesday as it was flying some 135 kilometres (85 miles) east of Misawa, northeastern Japan, on a training mission. The plane lost contact about 30 minutes after taking off from Misawa Air Base with three other aircraft.

Iwaya added that during the exercise, the aircraft communicated that it was aborting the exercise, then communications from the plane stopped and its radar track disappeared.

Japan’s air force announced a commission late Tuesday to study the cause of the accident. But it was still not clear exactly what happened to the plane by late Wednesday afternoon, a Japanese air force official told AFP.

US Forces Japan said in a statement that US Forces Japan will continue to work closely with the Japan Self Defence Forces and Ministry of Defence to assist with search and rescue efforts, as requested.

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