January 17, 2006

US fighter jet crashes into sea near Okinawa

TOKYO (Reuters) - A U.S. fighter jet crashed into the sea
near the southern Japanese island of Okinawa on Tuesday, a
local government official said.

The pilot of the F-15 plane ejected and was rescued later,
Kyodo news agency reported.

The crash occurred at around 10 a.m. (0100 GMT), a
spokesman for the Okinawa prefecture said. He declined to give
any more details.

Kyodo said the aircraft, which belonged to the Kadena Air
Base in Okinawa, went down in the Pacific Ocean about 70 km (45
miles), east of Ikeijima Island. Ikeijima is a small island
about 15 km east of Okinawa's main island.

Okinawa is host to the bulk of U.S. forces in Japan, but
residents have long resented their presence, citing concerns
over crime, noise and environmental damage.