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Missing Japanese F-35A pilot's death confirmed by Ministry of Defense

An F-35A stealth fighter is seen in this photo provided by the Air Self-Defense Force.

TOKYO -- The pilot who went missing after the F-35A stealth fighter he was flying crashed into the Pacific Ocean just off of Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan has been confirmed to have died, Minister of Defense Takeshi Iwaya said at a June 7 press conference.

Maj. Akinori Hosomi of the 3rd Air Wing's 302nd Tactical Fighter Squadron was classified missing following the aircraft's crash into the sea after taking off from Japan Air Self-Defense Force's (JASDF) Misawa Base in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture, on April 9, 2019.

At a June 7 press conference held after a Cabinet meeting, Iwaya confirmed that Maj. Hosomi had died. He said that body parts discovered among the aircraft's dispersed wreckage were confirmed to be Maj. Hosomi's remains on June 5.

The JASDF's investigation into the crash continues, with a potential human element and other variables being raised as possible causes for the accident. JASDF intends to continue flying its remaining F35-A stealth fighters once safety measures in response to the cause have been established.

Iwaya said, "It is a source of immense regret to lose such an excellent pilot. We offer our heartfelt sympathies to the family."

(Japanese original by Naritake Machida, City News Department)

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