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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 December 1 - 7  > F16 fighter jettisons 2 fuel tanks in Aomori
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2021 December 1 - 7 [US FORCES]

F16 fighter jettisons 2 fuel tanks in Aomori

December 2 & 3, 2021
An F-16 fighter jet stationed at the U.S. Misawa base in Aomori's Misawa City on the evening of November 30 made an emergency landing at Aomori Airport due to some sort of defect in the airframe. The F-16 before landing jettisoned two fuel tanks. One fell near a residential area and broke into pieces, and the other has not yet been found. A runway at Aomori Airport was fully closed for about 13 hours and seven civilian flights were cancelled.

Aomori Police on the night of the same day threw a cordon around the area where the tank fell. The U.S. military on the following day collected the pieces and took them away. The police were not allowed to touch the pieces or perform an on-site investigation.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo at a press conference held in the Diet building on December 2 protested against the incident. He said, "One of the tanks fell 20 meters from the nearest house," adding that a resident of the house said, "This accident could have destroyed my house and cost me my life."

He said, "U.S. aircraft based at the Misawa base have caused accidents many times." He cited the dropping of a dummy bomb from an F-16 onto private land in November 2019 and the dumping of two fuel tanks from an F-16 into Lake Ogawara in February 2018. He went on to say, "Since 50 F-16s were assigned to the Misawa base in 1985, 13 aircraft crashed, fuel tanks have been jettisoned 19 times, and the inert-bomb dumping has occurred 12 times. Local people's everyday lives and their livelihoods have been repeatedly threatened."

Shii pointed out, "Because of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), the Japanese police cannot investigate accidents involving the U.S. military. This time, the Aomori Police were not allowed to handle the case though it occurred in Aomori. This agreement subjugates Japan to the United States to the level as if Japan were a U.S. colony. A drastic revision of the SOFA is the pressing need."

Past related articles:
> Local fisheries badly off due to dumping of fuel tanks from US F16 fighter jet [March 21, 2018]
> US F16 fighter accidently drops dummy bomb in Aomori [November 8 & 9, 2019]

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