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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 November 6 - 12  > JCP Inoue criticizes US military for covering up 2016 collision of US military aircraft
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2019 November 6 - 12 [US FORCES]

JCP Inoue criticizes US military for covering up 2016 collision of US military aircraft

November 8, 2019
Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Inoue Satoshi on November 7 at a House of Councilors Defense Committee took up the recent revelation that the U.S. military had covered up a 2016 mid-air collision between U.S. military aircraft off the coast of Okinawa.

According to Inoue, the revelation of the cover-up of the 2016 accident was made in a U.S. Marine Corps’ investigation report regarding the crash of two U.S. military aircraft in 2018.

The report, which was published in September, looks at the incident in which a U.S. FA-18 fighter attacker and a KC-130 air tanker, both stationed at the U.S. Iwakuni base in Yamaguchi Prefecture, in December 2018 collided with each other and crashed into the sea off Kochi Prefecture during night-time aerial refueling drills. The report points out that two year earlier, the same combination of U.S. warplanes touched each other during night-time aerial refueling drills off the coast of Okinawa and were forced to make an emergency landing at the U.S. Kadena base in the prefecture, but the U.S. military did not properly investigate the cause of the accident and neglected to inform Japan of the case.

In addition, the report found that some crewmembers of the crashed aircraft in the 2018 case had taken drugs in violation of flight rules and that these crewmembers’ colleagues in their unit were engaged in discipline violations, such as reading books or taking selfies during flights.

Inoue stressed that the report concludes that if the U.S. Marine Corps had sufficiently investigated the cause of the 2016 accident, it could have been able to prevent the 2018 crash.

Furthermore, Inoue stated that the 2016 collision occurred in a special training airspace which was temporarily designated off-limits to civilian aircraft under so-called altitude reservation (ALTRV) procedures. He urged the Transport Ministry to disclose when the designation was made, but a ministry official refused to provide a response claiming that he cannot comment on activities of the U.S. military.

Inoue said that the U.S. military covered up the accident which occurred over Japanese airspace and the details are not accessible to the public and that this is totally unacceptable.

Past related articles:
> JCP Kokuta reveals Japan-US secret agreement regarding flights of US military aircraft [February 23, 2019]
> 2 US military aircraft collide with each other and crash into sea off Kochi [December 7 and 8, 2018]
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