An expert says the disappearance of a F35A fighter jet off northeastern Japan poses a serious challenge to the country's air defense.
The Air Self-Defense Force command lost radar contact with the aircraft on Tuesday evening over the Pacific, while the pilot was on a training mission.
Former Air Self-Defense Force Lieutenant General Toshimichi Nagaiwa says F35As are positioned as the next mainstay fighters for Japan, and their deployment is now in a test phase. He says the incident poses a serious problem to the program's development.
Nagaiwa says greater skills and knowledge are required to fly the cutting-edge aircraft.
The former defense official adds that it is necessary to swiftly analyze whether the incident was caused by an aircraft malfunction or human error, in order to prevent a recurrence.