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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 March 30 - April 5  > USMC conducts aerial refueling over Kofu City with no regard for citizens' safety
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2022 March 30 - April 5 [US FORCES]

USMC conducts aerial refueling over Kofu City with no regard for citizens' safety

March 30, 2022
Photos taken by a citizen reveal that a KC-130 aerial tanker based at the USMC Iwakuni base (Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Pref.) on March 23 conducted air-to-air refueling over Kofu City in Yamanashi Prefecture. A military aircraft with a hose and a fighter jet were also witnessed on March 9 over the city.

According to the photos, "MARINES" was written on an aircraft tail and the body number was "109". Aircraft being refueled in flight was thought to be an F-35B stealth fighter jet whose primary mission is to intrude into enemy territory.

In the first place, airborne refueling is very difficult. In addition, such refueling above residential areas is extremely dangerous, endangering the safety of the residents living right below.

In December 2018, the same model of the air tanker in question collided with a fighter jet while refueling in flight and both aircraft crashed into the waters off Kochi Prefecture, killing six crewmembers. Two years earlier, an MV-22 Osprey crashed into the shallow waters off Nago City in Okinawa due to accidental contact with an oil hose of the MV-22 with its propellers.

In January and February of 2017, then Defense Minister Inada Tomomi in responding to Diet questions said, "Midair-refueling drills are limited to take place only over sea areas away from land areas," and that restrictions on aerial refueling "apply not only to Osprey aircraft but to all U.S. military aircraft".

The minister's statements contradict the midair refueling operation witnessed this time over Kofu City. The Japanese government should make a request to the USFJ for a halt to air-to-air refueling above land areas.

Past related articles:
> 2 US military aircraft collide with each other and crash into sea off Kochi [December 7 and 8, 2018]
> A year on from crash in Okinawa, MV-22 flights still left unchecked [December 13, 2017]
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