A U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter went down in the sea Tuesday morning off Okinawa in southern Japan, but the pilot ejected and was rescued, the Kyodo news agency reported.

The warplane took off from the Kadena Air Base on Okinawa and went down about 100 kilometers (62 miles) off the island's coast around 8:45 a.m., the Japanese government said.

The U.S. Air Force confirmed that the plane went down and said the cause of the accident was not known.

"The plane was in an area (designated) for maneuvers" and civilians were never in danger, Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said.

A U.S. Air Force F-16 crashed into the sea off the northern island of Hokkaido in July 2012 and the pilot ejected and was rescued.

The United States has stationed nearly 48,000 military personnel on bases in Japan since the end of World War II, with about half of its forces based on the island of Okinawa. EFE