The incident happened about 6:30 a.m. local time during a routine training mission, officials said.
The jet crashed in the water south of Okinawa. The pilot successfully ejected and was safely recovered by a Japan Air Self-Defense Force search and rescue team from Naha Air Base on Okinawa, Kadena said.
A board of officers will investigate the accident, officials said.
Sunday’s incident comes as the Air Force completes the first wave of one-day safety stand-downs of flying and maintenance wings.
The stand-downs were ordered in the wake of a string of alarming aircraft mishaps and crashes, and the service plans to comb through all the data collected during that operational safety review to try to find answers on what may be causing the recent mishaps ― and how to stop them.
Michelle Tan is the editor of Army Times and Air Force Times. She has covered the military for Military Times since 2005, and has embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Haiti, Gabon and the Horn of Africa.