Japan on Thursday said it had lost contact with a military helicopter carrying several crew and passengers near Miyakojima, part of its southwest Okinawa island chain.
The UH60 troop transport, commonly known as the Black Hawk, disappeared from radar tracking after leaving a Ground Self Defense Force base on Miyakojima and did not respond to radio communications, according public broadcaster NHK.
The government's priority is to rescue those on board, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in comments aired by NHK.
Japanese Coast Guard ships are searching for the missing helicopter, which according NHK was carrying 10 people. Some local media reported that a senior Ground Self Defense Force commander was among them.
GSDF officials were not immediately available for comment.