NHK interrupted its lead story on the immigration bill now before the Diet with a news flash saying that several U.S. reporters covering the Defense Department reported online that an F-18 fighter and a KC-130 air tanker from the Iwakuni military base were involved in an accident while refueling and both of them crashed into the sea. In response to an inquiry from NHK, the U.S. Marines’ public affairs office acknowledged that there was an aircraft accident near the Japan coast and that further details will be provided as they become available.
NHK later reported on its morning news program that according to the Defense Ministry, it was informed by the U.S. Forces that an FA-18 fighter and a KC-130 air tanker collided at an altitude of 100 kilometers over waters south of Cape Muroto in Kochi Prefecture and both aircraft crashed into the sea at around 1:40 a.m. today. The FA-18 had a crew of two and the KC-130 had five service members onboard. The ADSF launched a rescue operation and has been able to rescue one U.S. service member so far.
NHK said that the U.S. Marine Corps in Japan issued the following comment: “An FA-18 fighter and a KC-130 air tanker that took off from the Iwakuni base for routine training off the Japan coast collided at around 2:00 a.m. A search and rescue operation is underway and the cause of the accident is being investigated.”
NTV, TBS, TV Asahi, and Fuji TV led with reports on an incident in which sumo wrestler Takanoiwa assaulted his attendant.
Top stories in national dailies included a Defense Ministry plan to withdraw from participation in the final assembly of F-35As to be procured by the ASDF (Sankei), a plan by the ruling coalition to pass the bill to amend the immigration law tomorrow (Mainichi), a plan by the Financial Services Agency to require listed firms to provide detailed disclosures of directors’ remuneration (Nikkei), a plan by the Health Ministry to allow some doctors to work long work hours (Asahi), and a third-party panel probe concluding there was gender discrimination in past entrance exams for Juntendo University (Yomiuri).