Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said Tuesday that the debris of a flight data recorder from a crashed Japanese Air Self-Defense Force F-35A had been recovered from the Pacific seabed but the storage medium was missing.
The U.S.-chartered deep sea search vessel Van Gogh had retrieved the heavily damaged flight recorder and a piece from the canopy since Friday, Iwaya told a press conference.
The defense minister said the ASDF will continue its operation with U.S. military support to recover the debris of the cutting-edge single-seat stealth jet developed by U.S. defense company Lockheed Martin Corp. The aircraft's pilot remains missing.
The F-35A went down April 9 off Aomori Prefecture in northeastern Japan during an ASDF night exercise, after taking off from Misawa Air Base in the prefecture.
The search operation is being conducted by a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel, a deep-sea research ship owned by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, and the Van Gogh.