The head of Japan's Self-Defense Forces says the search for US military personnel missing after their aircraft crashed will continue through the night.
Katsutoshi Kawano told reporters on Thursday that 3 vessels and 15 planes of the SDF are searching for the 5 crewmembers.
The US fighter jet and refueling aircraft crashed into waters off Kochi Prefecture in the morning after colliding in midair.
Kawano said plenty of debris, including lifesaving appliances, was found floating and that officials are working to identify whether they are from the downed aircraft.
Asked about a series of recent accidents involving US military aircraft in Japan, Kawano said he will wait for the outcome of a US military probe into the cause of the accident.