Japan has 12 operational F-35s, with nearly 150 more on order. The planes are based with the 302nd Squadron at the Misawa Air Base in Aomori, northern Japan.
A Japan Air Self-Defence Force F-35 has disappeared from radar screens during a routine training flight, Japanese national broadcaster NHK has reported, citing Defence Ministry sources.
According to the military, ground control lost contact with the plane at around 7:27 pm on Tuesday, about 135 km northeast of Misawa city, during training. The plane is believed to have one pilot onboard.
Maritime Self-Defence Force patrol aircraft and escort vessels are engaged in a search operation, NHK said, with the local Coast Guard also deploying two patrol vessels to help in the search.