Japan is angry about the behavior of US military pilots


Last August, the United States Marine Corps released a report on a collision on December 6, 2018 between a F / A-18D Hornet fighter plane from the Iwakuni base in Japan and a KC-refueling aircraft. 130J Super Hercules. In the accident, which occurred during a night-time exercise off the coast of Kochi Prefecture, in the Pacific Ocean, six of the seven people who were aboard the two planes died, and according to the Marines report the cause was inappropriate behavior of pilots.

In fact, the report shows that before the accident the pilots had adopted unprofessional behaviors prohibited by the Marines rules: for example, they had taken and then posted on social media some selfies while they were in flight, including one in which a pilot combed his hair. mustache while driving the plane and another in which he read the book The Great Santini, a 1976 novel starring a fighter aircraft pilot. The report also claims that subsequent tests carried out on the bodies of deceased soldiers have revealed excessive use of alcohol and drugs (including one to promote sleep). After the incident four members of the Marines had been fired, including Lieutenant Colonel James Compton, who was head of the unit of pilots involved in the collision.

Following the publication of the report Tsugumasa Muraoka, the governor of Yamaguchi prefecture, where Iwakuni's US base is located, called the behavior of the pilots "outrageous" and asked the Ministry of Defense to ask the US military that operate in Japan to do more checks. Toshimitsu Motegi, Japanese Foreign Minister, also intervened, saying that similar violations of the rules by the same unit of US pilots involved in the accident had caused another collision in 2016, off the coast of Okinawa prefecture, where they did not there were deaths and no Marines investigation was carried out. The accident was judged by the Marines as not serious and was not communicated to the Japanese authorities. Motegi said that "if an investigation had been investigated, appropriate corrective measures would have been taken to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents such as that of December 2018".

Other concerns were reiterated by the Japanese authorities after a US fighter, during a training session, had accidentally dropped a blank bomb (230 kg heavy and filled with cement) on private land near Aomori prefecture on Thursday in a training session. north-east of Japan, about 5 km from the area where it should have been launched. In the accident there were no injuries or damage to the buildings, but according to the governor of the prefecture Shingo Mimura the incident "feeds the fears on the part of the residents and aggravates the distrust of the security control of the US military".

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