The US Navy (USN) has deployed an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Stethem (63) and a P-8A maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) to assist in the Japanese-led search for a missing Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) pilot.
The aircraft took off from the Misawa air base around 7 p.m. on April 9 for a combat exercise involving other fighter jets.
"We have collected part of its tail" in search operations at sea with planes and vessels, Mr Iwaya told reporters.
Iwaya says 12 other F-35s at the Misawa base will be grounded.
The crash has also sparked concerns over the Japanese government's plans to buy 105 more of the 100-million-dollar fighters as it seeks to overhaul its aged fleet of mainstay jets as part of its controversial national defense guidelines.
The planes, based at Misawa Air Base on the northern tip of the main Japanese island of Honshu, were about 135 kilometers off the east coast of Aomori prefecture when contact was lost, officials said.
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NHK quotes Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya as saying that the military is focusing on rescuing the pilot, and investigating the cause of the incident.
Peter Layton, a former Australian Air Force officer and analyst at Griffith Asia Institute, said the problem could lie with the Japanese assembly line.
"A total of eight aeroplanes were sent to the area, but we have not received any information about the fighter". The F-35 fighter jet is able to evade enemy's radar and penetrate deep into enemy's space without detection.
The previous four aircraft had been used for training in the United States before being brought to Japan, the defence official said. F-35 is considered the most expensive USA weapons system.
While most F-35s are made in the United States, the one that crashed Tuesday was the first to come off an assembly line in Nagoya, Japan, the Ministry of Defense said.