TOKYO – Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) on November 19 announced plans to compensate owners for damage to their cars in August when the Blue Impulse aerobatic team sprayed colorful smoke at low altitude near the Irma base in Saitama prefecture.
The ASDF said the dye particles in the three-color smoke had “very likely” stained the vehicles, and said it would look at how many cars were eligible for compensation and how much to pay. The main unit of Team Blue Impulse had just performed on the opening day of the Tokyo Summer Paralympic Games when the incident occurred.
According to the ASDF, it has received inquiries from more than 1,100 vehicles about colored smoke particles – each measuring up to about 0.5 millimeters in diameter – landing on vehicles. The chemical components of the particles were analyzed, but the amounts were too small to be sure whether they were colored smoke dyes.
However, based on the flight path and the smoke scattering projections, the ASDF deemed it extremely likely that the particles were smoke dyes. He will check how badly each vehicle is stained.
The colored smoke was improperly sprayed by three reserve Blue Impulse jets, which were flying in close proximity to the team’s six-jet performance over central Tokyo. Just before landing at the Irma base on the afternoon of August 24, the three reserve jets sprayed smoke at altitudes below the minimum of 300 meters. Stains cannot be removed with water or detergents, so cars must be repainted.
The officers in charge of the reserve jets explained that they “wanted to exhaust the colored fumes” and “to please the inhabitants”. The ASDF plans to sanction the people concerned.
The Department of Defense accepts inquiries on this matter by telephone between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays at 03-3268-3111 (ext. 60158 or 61092, in Japanese).
(Japanese original by Yoshitake Matsuura, Tokyo City News Service)