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EDITORIAL: U.S. F-16 fuel tank drop again shows need to revise SOFA

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A U.S. F-16 fighter jet jettisoned two fuel tanks during an emergency in Aomori Prefecture on Nov. 30.

The mishap could have caused a terrible disaster, although no local resident was injured or no private residence was damaged.

The U.S. military should be alarmed by the anxiety and concern the incident has stirred in local communities and make thorough efforts to identify the cause and prevent a recurrence.

The Japanese government bears a heavy responsibility to pressure the U.S. forces to take those steps.

The F-16, stationed at Misawa Air Base in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture, jettisoned the tanks to lighten the aircraft to make an emergency landing at Aomori Airport after the pilot experienced engine trouble.

One tank was found near the Fukaura town government office, which was close to a residential area. Parts lay scattered and the road was covered with leaked fuel. The other tank was discovered in the mountains in the town.

The U.S. military initially said the tanks were dropped over an uninhabited area. We need to hear a detailed........

© The Asahi Shimbun

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