Japanese Fishermen Seek Compensation after Jet Mishap

Aomori fishermen are now seeking for compensation for the fishing ban imposed after a U.S. F-16 jet fighter crashed this week in northern Japan.


The jet, assigned to Misawa Air Base’s 35th Fighter Wing, dropped two external fuel tanks into Lake Ogawara after one of it’s engines caught fire after takeoff. No one was reported injured in the mishap and the aircraft returned to base safely.


Photo credit to: http://www.cetusnews.com

Itsunori Onodera, Japan’s Minister of Defense, said that officials spotted parts believed to be from the jet in the lake and that the water surface was covered in jet fuel. Lake Ogawara’s Fishing Association instituted the ban that same day and will remain in effect until the fuel tanks are removed and fuel is cleared from the water.


Last Wednesday, Aomori Prefecture Gov. Shingo Mimura, asked the Japanese Self-Defense Forces to help clean up Lake Ogawara. Local leaders can make these requests during times of disaster or emergency.


Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel later began preparations for the cleanup and that the Japanese Ministry of Defense will assess the damage and then coordinate to compensate the fishermen. They may also ask the U.S. military to pay for damages.


Defense Bureau spokespersons have said that their agency has requested that U.S. military officials take more cautionary measures when flying their aircraft and to provide information about the incident.


Japanese broadcast channel, NHK, reported that Colonel Scott Jobe, the base commander of the 35 th Fighter Wing which is also the same wing that housed the jet, apologized to Misawa Vice Mayor Koichiro Maita immediately after the incident.


Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, apologized to Onodera for the mishaps last month, which included the emergency landings of Okinawa-based USMC helicopters. He also vowed to address the issue of aircraft safety was of utmost importance.


Onodera reportedly asked Mattis, who is a retired Marine Corps four-star general, to take more measures to prevent future mishaps.


Reference: Japan’s defense chief vows to push for fishermen’s compensation after U.S. F-16 fuel dump in Aomori


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