For the first time since WWII, a Mitsubishi Zero fighter plane was seen in the sky over Japan.
According to reports from the Associated Press, the plane was originally found in disrepair and decay by an American in Papua New Guinea in the 1970s. A Japanese businessman, Masahiro Ishizuka, purchased the plane from the American and had it transported back to Japan last September.
“I wanted for the people of Japan and especially young people to know about this Zero airplane, as well as those who are old who remember the past,” Ishizuka said. “Each of them should have different thoughts and perspectives on this, but I just want people to know how Japan has developed its technology.”
This particular plane is seen by many Japanese as symbolic of Japan’s technological advances and a harrowing reminder of the history of WWII. They used these planes in kamikaze attacks in their last phase of fighting.
The restored plane was flown by decorated former U.S. Air Force pilot Skip Holm from the same Kanoya Naval Air Base on the island of Kyushu that kamikaze pilots took off from in WWII.