Japan angry at US after low-flying F-16 fighter jet footage was uploaded to YouTube

US confirmed footage was from one of its planes and that it flew below the minimum allowed altitude, seemingly over residential areas of northeastern Japan

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 April, 2018, 9:23pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 April, 2018, 9:58pm

The Defence Ministry’s local bureau in northeastern Japan lodged a complaint with the commander of Misawa Air Base after video footage taken from a US fighter jet flying at a very low altitude was uploaded to YouTube, officials said.

The US military at the base in Aomori Prefecture said it has confirmed that the 10-minute footage was taken from one of its F-16 fighter jets during flight training and the aircraft flew below the minimum allowed altitude at several locations, they said.

The Tohoku Defence Bureau said it urged the base’s commander Friday to abide by Japan’s aviation law prohibiting flight below the altitude of 150 metres in non-residential areas.

The footage also showed the fighter flying over what appears to be a residential area.

The Misawa base houses both the US military and Japan’s Self-Defence Forces.

On February 20, a US fighter developed an engine fire immediately after taking off from the Misawa base and dropped its two external fuel tanks into a nearby lake where fishing boats were operating.