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An aircraft belonging to Japan's Self Defence Forces (SDF) disappeared from radars on Monday while flying above the Hokkaido island, the Defence Ministry announced.
Ministry officials said the LR-2 reconnaissance and communications plane took off from Okadama airport in Sapporo city at 11.23 a.m.
It was heading for Hakodate airport, public broadcaster NHK reported.
The plane, with two pilots and two maintenance personnel on board, lost communications with air traffic controllers at 11.47 a.m. Then it disappeared about 30 km west of Hakodate airport.
The aircraft carries stretchers for medical emergencies, and was on its way to pick up a patient at the request of Hokkaido's governor.