NHK reported that a U.S. military F-16 fighter jet belonging to Misawa AB in Aomori jettisoned two fuel tanks into Lake Ogawara located north of the base right after takeoff at about 8:40 a.m today. The network said the tanks were probably dumped into the lake because the aircraft’s engine caught fire, adding that the Defense Ministry is currently verifying the details. According to the network, no injuries have been reported. Defense Minister Onodera was quoted as telling reporters this morning: “We received a report from the U.S. military that an F-16 that took off from Misawa AB at about 8:39 a.m. experienced problems due to an engine fire right after takeoff, dropped two external tanks into Lake Ogawara located north of Misawa AB, and returned to the base at about 8:42 a.m.” Onodera also reportedly said that he hopes to obtain an explanation from the U.S. side as to why such an incident occurred and to call for preventive measures. The network said Lake Ogawara is the second largest lake in the Tohoku region, and this is the prime season for catching freshwater clams and Japanese smelt. All networks carried similar stories.