Photo/Illutration Osprey aircraft wreckage after the crash landing off the coast in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture. This photo was taken on Dec. 14, 2016, a day after the accident. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

NAHA--Japanese authorities on Sept. 24 recommended that a U.S. military pilot be prosecuted for a crash involving an Osprey aircraft in waters off Okinawa Prefecture in December 2016.

There were no fatalities in the incident off the eastern coast of Nago, but some injuries.

The Japan Coast Guard's Nakagusuku Coast Guard Office referred the matter to prosecutors on grounds the unnamed pilot caused the accident by flying too fast.

The transport aircraft tried to make an emergency water landing and broke apart when it plummeted into the sea.

Papers on the case were sent to the Naha District Public Prosecutors Office alleging that the pilot violated the law on punishment of dangerous acts in the air.

The officer's name and age are not known.

After the accident, the Japan Coast Guard contacted U.S. military forces for information about the incident, but did not receive a response.

It seems unlikely now that any will be forthcoming in light of the Japan Coast Guard's latest action.

The case was referred to the prosecutors' office with the field for the suspect's name left blank. It seemed probable that the office, observing past precedent, will dismiss the case.

The pilot of the MV22 Osprey aircraft was based at the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan in the prefecture.

Japanese authorities contend the pilot ditched the aircraft, leading to its destruction, after slipping up during an aerial refueling training exercise on Dec. 13, 2016.

When the Osprey was approaching the MC130J aerial tanker to be refueled, the pilot is thought to have failed to exercise appropriate caution by flying too fast. That resulted in the propeller on the right side of the Osprey making contact with the tanker’s tube, rendering the helicopter unstable in flight.

The Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement stipulates that U.S. military forces have jurisdiction over incidents or accidents involving U.S. military forces during the execution of their official duties.

A final report on the accident submitted to the Japanese government in September 2017 by U.S. forces states that the accident was due to a "mistake by the pilot.”

The pilot tried several times to connect with the tanker’s tube, without success. After that, the pilot changed direction to head for the Futenma base while still trying to complete the refueling procedure.

During that time, the pilot increased his speed too much, U.S. forces concluded.

The Japan Coast Guard scrutinized the report submitted after the accident and concluded there was a case to answer.

After a U.S. military helicopter crashed in the grounds of Okinawa International University in August 2004, Okinawa prefectural police sent papers on the case to the prosecutors' office against four U.S. soldiers without identifying them.

The office dismissed the case.

The prefectural police asked the U.S. military to provide the identity and ages of the four, to no avail.