Japan Airlines Flight 123
Overview
 
Japan Airlines Flight 123 was a Japan Airlines
Japan Airlines
is an airline headquartered in Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan. It is the flag carrier of Japan and its main hubs are Tokyo's Narita International Airport and Tokyo International Airport , as well as Nagoya's Chūbu Centrair International Airport and Osaka's Kansai International Airport...

 domestic flight from Tokyo International Airport
Tokyo International Airport
, commonly known as , is one of the two primary airports that serve the Greater Tokyo Area in Japan. It is located in Ōta, Tokyo, south of Tokyo Station....

 (Haneda) to Osaka International Airport
Osaka International Airport
or Osaka-Itami International Airport is the primary domestic airport for the Kansai region of Japan, including the major cities of Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe. It is classified as a first class airport....

 (Itami) on August 12, 1985. The Boeing 747-146SR
Boeing 747
The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

 that made this route, registered , suffered mechanical failures 12 minutes into the flight and 32 minutes later crashed into two ridges of Mount Takamagahara
Mount Takamagahara
Mount Takamagahara is a mountain in the Gunma Prefecture of Japan, near Ueno village. Its measurement is tall.The crash of Japan Airlines Flight 123 was initially reported on Mount Osutaka, but later confirmed to be on the ridge of Mount Takamagahara at a height of approximately above sea level...

 in Ueno
Ueno, Gunma
is a village located in Tano District, Gunma, Japan.As of 2003, the village had an estimated population of 2,152 and a density of 11.83 persons per km²...

, Gunma Prefecture
Gunma Prefecture
is a prefecture of Japan located in the northwest corner of the Kantō region on Honshu island. Its capital is Maebashi.- History :The remains of a Paleolithic man were found at Iwajuku, Gunma Prefecture, in the early 20th century and there is a public museum there.Japan was without horses until...

, 100 kilometres (62.1 mi) from Tokyo. The crash site was on , near Mount Osutaka
Mount Osutaka
is a mountain in Ueno, Gunma Prefecture, Japan. It is tall.The plane crash of JAL 123 was initially reported on Mount Osutaka, but later confirmed to be on a ridge near Mount Takamagahara. It was the deadliest single plane accident in world history....

. All 15 crew members and 505 out of 509 passengers died, resulting in a total of 520 deaths and four survivors.

It is currently the deadliest single-aircraft accident in history, and the second deadliest plane crash in history behind the Tenerife airport disaster.
The aircraft involved, registration number JA8119, was a Boeing 747-100SR.
Encyclopedia
Japan Airlines Flight 123 was a Japan Airlines
Japan Airlines
is an airline headquartered in Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan. It is the flag carrier of Japan and its main hubs are Tokyo's Narita International Airport and Tokyo International Airport , as well as Nagoya's Chūbu Centrair International Airport and Osaka's Kansai International Airport...

 domestic flight from Tokyo International Airport
Tokyo International Airport
, commonly known as , is one of the two primary airports that serve the Greater Tokyo Area in Japan. It is located in Ōta, Tokyo, south of Tokyo Station....

 (Haneda) to Osaka International Airport
Osaka International Airport
or Osaka-Itami International Airport is the primary domestic airport for the Kansai region of Japan, including the major cities of Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe. It is classified as a first class airport....

 (Itami) on August 12, 1985. The Boeing 747-146SR
Boeing 747
The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

 that made this route, registered , suffered mechanical failures 12 minutes into the flight and 32 minutes later crashed into two ridges of Mount Takamagahara
Mount Takamagahara
Mount Takamagahara is a mountain in the Gunma Prefecture of Japan, near Ueno village. Its measurement is tall.The crash of Japan Airlines Flight 123 was initially reported on Mount Osutaka, but later confirmed to be on the ridge of Mount Takamagahara at a height of approximately above sea level...

 in Ueno
Ueno, Gunma
is a village located in Tano District, Gunma, Japan.As of 2003, the village had an estimated population of 2,152 and a density of 11.83 persons per km²...

, Gunma Prefecture
Gunma Prefecture
is a prefecture of Japan located in the northwest corner of the Kantō region on Honshu island. Its capital is Maebashi.- History :The remains of a Paleolithic man were found at Iwajuku, Gunma Prefecture, in the early 20th century and there is a public museum there.Japan was without horses until...

, 100 kilometres (62.1 mi) from Tokyo. The crash site was on , near Mount Osutaka
Mount Osutaka
is a mountain in Ueno, Gunma Prefecture, Japan. It is tall.The plane crash of JAL 123 was initially reported on Mount Osutaka, but later confirmed to be on a ridge near Mount Takamagahara. It was the deadliest single plane accident in world history....

. All 15 crew members and 505 out of 509 passengers died, resulting in a total of 520 deaths and four survivors.

It is currently the deadliest single-aircraft accident in history, and the second deadliest plane crash in history behind the Tenerife airport disaster.

Aircraft

The aircraft involved, registration number JA8119, was a Boeing 747-100SR. Its first flight was on January 28, 1974. Before it was destroyed, it had 25,030 airframe hours and 18,835 cycles (one cycle equals one takeoff and landing).

Passengers

The flight was around the Obon
Bon Festival
or just is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of one's ancestors. This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their ancestors' graves, and when the spirits of ancestors are supposed...

 holiday period in Japan, when many Japanese people make yearly trips to their hometowns or resorts. Twenty-one non-Japanese boarded the flight. The four survivors, all female, were seated on the left side and towards the middle of seat rows 54–60, in the rear of the aircraft. The survivors were , an off-duty JAL flight attendant
Flight attendant
Flight attendants or cabin crew are members of an aircrew employed by airlines primarily to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers aboard commercial flights, on select business jet aircraft, and on some military aircraft.-History:The role of a flight attendant derives from that of similar...

, age 25, who was jammed between a number of seats; , a 34-year-old woman and her 8-year-old daughter , who were trapped in an intact section of the fuselage
Fuselage
The fuselage is an aircraft's main body section that holds crew and passengers or cargo. In single-engine aircraft it will usually contain an engine, although in some amphibious aircraft the single engine is mounted on a pylon attached to the fuselage which in turn is used as a floating hull...

; and a 12-year-old girl, , who was found wedged between branches in a tree. Among the dead were the famous singer Kyu Sakamoto
Kyu Sakamoto
was a Japanese singer and actor, best known outside of Japan for his international hit song "Sukiyaki", which was sung in Japanese and sold over 13 million copies...

 (of Sukiyaki
Sukiyaki (song)
The cover version by A Taste of Honey reached number three on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also went to number 1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart and Soul chart)....

 fame) and Japanese banker Akihisa Yukawa, the father of solo violinist Diana Yukawa
Diana Yukawa
is an Anglo-Japanese solo violinist. She has had two solo albums with BMG Japan, one of which opened to #1.-Early life:Diana Yukawa was born in Tokyo, Japan to English ballet dancer Susanne Bayly and Japanese banker Akihisa Yukawa one month after her father died in the 1985 Japan Airlines Flight...

.

Sequence of events

The flight took off from Runway 16L at Tokyo International Airport (commonly referred to as Haneda Airport) in Ōta
Ota, Tokyo
is one of the 23 Special wards of Tokyo, Japan.As of May 1, 2011, the ward has an estimated population of 676,458, with 348,492 households, and a population density of 11,376.69 persons per km²...

, Tokyo, Japan at 6:12 p.m., 12 minutes behind schedule. About 12 minutes after takeoff, as the aircraft reached cruising altitude over Sagami Bay
Sagami Bay
Sagami Bay , also known as the Sagami Gulf or Sagami Sea, lies south of Kanagawa Prefecture in Honshū, central Japan, contained within the scope of the Miura Peninsula, in Kanagawa, to the east, the Izu Peninsula, in Shizuoka Prefecture, to the west, and the Shōnan coastline to the north, while the...

, the rear pressure bulkhead
Rear pressure bulkhead
The aft pressure bulkhead is a component of all large commercial aircraft. It is an airtight bulkhead located between the cabin and the tail of the aircraft. Its purpose is to seal the rear of the plane and thus maintain cabin pressure, and as such it is a vital part of the aircraft.Japan...

 was torn open. The resulting explosive decompression
Explosive decompression
Uncontrolled decompression refers to an unplanned drop in the pressure of a sealed system, such as an aircraft cabin and typically results from human error, material fatigue, engineering failure or impact causing a pressure vessel to vent into its lower-pressure surroundings or fail to pressurize...

 tore the tailfin
Tailfin
The tailfin era of automobile styling encompassed the 1950s and 1960s, peaking between 1957 and 1960. It was a style that spread worldwide, as car designers picked up styling trends from the US automobile industry where it was the golden epoch of American autodesign.General Motors design chief...

 from the aircraft and severed all four of the aircraft's hydraulic systems
Hydraulic machinery
Hydraulic machines are machinery and tools that use liquid fluid power to do simple work. Heavy equipment is a common example.In this type of machine, hydraulic fluid is transmitted throughout the machine to various hydraulic motors and hydraulic cylinders and which becomes pressurised according to...

. A photograph taken from the ground some time later confirmed that the vertical stabilizer was missing. The loss of cabin pressure at high altitude had also caused a lack of oxygen throughout the cabin, and emergency oxygen masks for passengers soon began to fall. Flight attendants, including one who was off-duty and flying as a passenger, administered oxygen to various passengers using hand-held tanks.
The pilots, including Captain , first officer , and flight engineer , set their transponder
Transponder (aviation)
A transponder is an electronic device that produces a response when it receives a radio-frequency interrogation...

 to broadcast a distress signal
Distress signal
A distress signal is an internationally recognized means for obtaining help. Distress signals take the form of or are commonly made by using radio signals, displaying a visually detected item or illumination, or making an audible sound, from a distance....

 to Tokyo Area Control Center
Tokyo Area Control Center
is an air traffic control center located in the Namiki area of Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, Japan, north of Tokyo.As of 2001 the center controlled airspace in the Kantō, Jōetsu, Tōhoku, Chūbu, and Hokuriku regions and a portion of the Kansai region....

, which directed the aircraft to descend and gave it heading vectors for an emergency landing
Emergency landing
An emergency landing is a landing made by an aircraft in response to a crisis which either interferes with the operation of the aircraft or involves sudden medical emergencies necessitating diversion to the nearest airport.-Types of emergency landings:...

. Continued control problems required them to first request vectors back to Haneda, then to Yokota
Yokota Air Base
, is a United States Air Force base in the city of Fussa, one of 26 cities in the Tama Area, or Western Tokyo.The base houses 14,000 personnel. The base occupies a total area of and has a runway...

 (a U.S. military air base), then back to Haneda again as the aircraft wandered uncontrollably.

By then all hydraulic fluid had drained away through the rupture. With total loss of hydraulic control and non-functional control surfaces
Flight with disabled controls
Several aviation incidents and accidents have occurred in which the control surfaces of the aircraft became disabled, often due to failure of hydraulic systems or the flight control system. Other incidents have occurred where controls were not functioning correctly prior to take-off, either due to...

, the aircraft began to oscillate up and down in a phugoid
Phugoid
A phugoid or fugoid is an aircraft motion where the vehicle pitches up and climbs, and then pitches down and descends, accompanied by speeding up and slowing down as it goes "uphill" and "downhill." This is one of the basic flight dynamics modes of an aircraft , and a classic example of a positive...

 cycle. The pilots managed a measure of control by using differential engine thrust
Thrust
Thrust is a reaction force described quantitatively by Newton's second and third laws. When a system expels or accelerates mass in one direction the accelerated mass will cause a force of equal magnitude but opposite direction on that system....

. These improvisations proved helpful, but further measures to exert control, such as lowering the landing gear and flaps, interfered with control by throttle, and the plane's uncontrollability once again escalated.

After descending to 13,500 feet (4100 m), the pilots reported the aircraft's uncontrollability. The plane flew over the Izu Peninsula
Izu Peninsula
The is a large mountainous peninsula with deeply indented coasts to the west of Tokyo on the Pacific coast of the island of Honshū, Japan. Formerly the eponymous Izu Province, Izu peninsula is now a part of Shizuoka Prefecture...

, headed for the Pacific Ocean, then turned back towards the shore and descended to below 7,000 feet (2100 m) before the pilots managed to return to a climb. The aircraft reached an altitude of 13,000 feet (4000 m) before entering an uncontrollable descent into the mountains and disappearing from radar at 6:56 p.m. and 6,800 feet (2100 m). The final moments of the plane occurred when it clipped one mountain ridge then crashed into a second one during another rapid plunge, then flipped and landed on its back. The aircraft's crash point, at an elevation of 1565 metres (5,134.5 ft), is located in Sector 76, State Forest, 3577 Aza Hontani, Ouaza Narahara, Ueno Village
Ueno, Gunma
is a village located in Tano District, Gunma, Japan.As of 2003, the village had an estimated population of 2,152 and a density of 11.83 persons per km²...

, Tano District
Tano District, Gunma
Tano is a district located in Gunma, Japan.As of 2003, the district had an estimated population of 49,743 and a density of 121.00 persons per km². The total area is 411.09 km²....

, Gunma Prefecture
Gunma Prefecture
is a prefecture of Japan located in the northwest corner of the Kantō region on Honshu island. Its capital is Maebashi.- History :The remains of a Paleolithic man were found at Iwajuku, Gunma Prefecture, in the early 20th century and there is a public museum there.Japan was without horses until...

. The east-west ridge is about 2.5 kilometres (8,202.1 ft) north north west of Mount Mikuni
Mount Mikuni
is the name of three mountains in Gifu Prefecture, Japan. One of the mountains is on the border of Gifu and Aichi prefectures. Another mountain is on the border of Gifu and Nagano prefectures. The third mountain is located on the border of all three prefectures...

. Ed Magnuson of Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine said that the area where the aircraft crashed was referred to as the "Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

" of Gunma Prefecture.

Thirty-two minutes elapsed from the time of the bulkhead explosion to the time of the final crash, long enough for some passengers to write farewells to their families. Subsequent simulator re-enactments of the mechanical failures suffered by Flight 123 failed to produce a better solution or outcome, and in fact none of the four flight crews in the simulations were able to keep the plane aloft for as long as the 32 minutes achieved by the actual crew.

Delayed rescue operation

United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 controllers at Yokota Air Force base situated near the flight path of Flight 123 had been monitoring the distressed aircraft's calls for help. They maintained contact throughout the ordeal with Japanese flight control officials and made their landing strip available to the airplane. After losing track on radar, a U.S. Air Force C-130 from the 345 TAS was asked to search for the missing plane. The C-130 crew was the first to spot the crash site 20 minutes after impact, while it was still daylight. The crew radioed Yokota Air Base to alert them and directed a USAF Huey helicopter from Yokota to the crash site. Rescue teams were assembled in preparation to lower Marines down for rescues by helicopter tow line. The offers by American forces of help to guide Japanese forces immediately to the crash site and of rescue assistance were rejected by Japanese officials. Instead, Japanese government representatives ordered the U.S. crew to keep away from the crash site and return to Yokota Air Base
Yokota Air Base
, is a United States Air Force base in the city of Fussa, one of 26 cities in the Tama Area, or Western Tokyo.The base houses 14,000 personnel. The base occupies a total area of and has a runway...

, stating the Japan Self-Defense Forces
Japan Self-Defense Forces
The , or JSDF, occasionally referred to as JSF or SDF, are the unified military forces of Japan that were established after the end of the post–World War II Allied occupation of Japan. For most of the post-war period the JSDF was confined to the islands of Japan and not permitted to be deployed...

 (JSDF) were going to handle the entire rescue alone.

Although a JSDF helicopter eventually spotted the wreck during the night, poor visibility and the difficult mountainous terrain prevented it from landing at the site. The pilot of the JSDF helicopter reported from the air that there were no signs of survivors. Based on this report, JSDF ground personnel did not set out to the actual site the night of the crash. Instead, they were dispatched to spend the night at a makeshift village erecting tents, constructing helicopter landing ramps and in other preparations, all some 63 kilometers from the wreck. JSDF did not set out for the actual crash site until the following morning. Medical staff later found a number of passengers' bodies whose injuries indicated that they had survived the crash only to die from shock or exposure overnight in the mountains while awaiting rescue. One doctor said "If the discovery had come ten hours earlier, we could have found more survivors."

Yumi Ochiai, one of the four survivors out of 524 passengers and crew, recounted from her hospital bed that she recalled bright lights and the sound of helicopter rotors shortly after she awoke amid the wreckage, and while she could hear screaming and moaning from other survivors, these sounds gradually died away during the night.

Cause

The official cause of the crash according to the report published by Japan's then Aircraft Accidents Investigation Commission
Aircraft and Railway Accidents Investigation Commission
The was a commission belonging to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. Commission members are appointed by the transport minister to research causes of aircraft and railway accidents and to suggest improvements to prevent similar accidents in future...

 is as follows:
  1. The aircraft was involved in a tailstrike
    Tailstrike
    Tailstrike is an aviation term that describes an event in which the rear end of an aircraft touches the runway. This can happen during takeoff of a fixed-wing aircraft if the pilot pulls up too rapidly, leading to the rear end of the fuselage touching the runway. It can also occur during landing...

     incident at Osaka International Airport on 2 June 1978, which damaged the aircraft's rear pressure bulkhead
    Rear pressure bulkhead
    The aft pressure bulkhead is a component of all large commercial aircraft. It is an airtight bulkhead located between the cabin and the tail of the aircraft. Its purpose is to seal the rear of the plane and thus maintain cabin pressure, and as such it is a vital part of the aircraft.Japan...

    .
  2. The subsequent repair of the bulkhead did not conform to Boeing's approved repair methods. The Boeing technicians fixing the aircraft used two separate doubler plates, one with two rows of rivets and one with only one row while their procedure calls for one continuous doubler plate with three rows of rivet
    Rivet
    A rivet is a permanent mechanical fastener. Before being installed a rivet consists of a smooth cylindrical shaft with a head on one end. The end opposite the head is called the buck-tail. On installation the rivet is placed in a punched or pre-drilled hole, and the tail is upset, or bucked A rivet...

    s to reinforce the damaged bulkhead. This reduced the part's resistance to metal fatigue
    Metal Fatigue
    Metal Fatigue , is a futuristic science fiction, real-time strategy computer game developed by Zono Incorporated and published by Psygnosis and TalonSoft .-Plot:...

     by 70%. According to the Federal Aviation Administration
    Federal Aviation Administration
    The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

    , the one "doubler plate" which was specified for the job (the Federal Aviation Administration calls it a "splice plate" - essentially a patch) was cut into two pieces parallel to the stress crack it was intended to reinforce, "to make it fit". This negated the effectiveness of two of the rows of rivets. During the investigation Boeing calculated that this incorrect installation would fail after approximately 10,000 pressurizations; the aircraft accomplished 12,318 take-offs between the installation of the new plate and the final accident.
  3. When the bulkhead gave way, the resulting explosive decompression
    Explosive decompression
    Uncontrolled decompression refers to an unplanned drop in the pressure of a sealed system, such as an aircraft cabin and typically results from human error, material fatigue, engineering failure or impact causing a pressure vessel to vent into its lower-pressure surroundings or fail to pressurize...

     ruptured the lines of all four hydraulic systems and blew off the vertical stabilizer
    Vertical stabilizer
    The vertical stabilizers, vertical stabilisers, or fins, of aircraft, missiles or bombs are typically found on the aft end of the fuselage or body, and are intended to reduce aerodynamic side slip. It is analogical to a skeg on boats and ships.On aircraft, vertical stabilizers generally point upwards...

    . With the aircraft's flight controls disabled, the aircraft became uncontrollable.

Aftermath

The Japanese public's confidence in Japan Airlines
Japan Airlines
is an airline headquartered in Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan. It is the flag carrier of Japan and its main hubs are Tokyo's Narita International Airport and Tokyo International Airport , as well as Nagoya's Chūbu Centrair International Airport and Osaka's Kansai International Airport...

 took a dramatic downturn in the wake of the disaster, with passenger numbers on domestic routes dropping by one-third. Rumors persisted that Boeing had admitted fault to cover up shortcomings in the airline's inspection procedures, thus protecting the reputation of a major customer. In the months after the crash, domestic traffic decreased by as much as 25%. In 1986, for the first time in a decade, fewer passengers boarded JAL's overseas flights during New Years than the previous year. Some of them considered switching to All Nippon Airways
All Nippon Airways
, also known as or ANA, is one of the largest airlines in Japan. It is headquartered at the Shiodome City Center in the Shiodome area in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. It operates services to 49 destinations in Japan and 35 international routes and employed over 14,000 employees as of May 2009...

 as a safer alternative.

Without admitting liability, JAL paid ¥
Japanese yen
The is the official currency of Japan. It is the third most traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the United States dollar and the euro. It is also widely used as a reserve currency after the U.S. dollar, the euro and the pound sterling...

780 million to the victims' relatives in the form of "condolence money". Its president, Yasumoto Takagi, resigned, while a maintenance manager working for the company at Haneda
Tokyo International Airport
, commonly known as , is one of the two primary airports that serve the Greater Tokyo Area in Japan. It is located in Ōta, Tokyo, south of Tokyo Station....

 committed suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

 to apologize for the accident.

In the summer of 2009, stairs with a handrail were installed to facilitate visitors' access to the crash site. Japan Transport Minister Seiji Maehara
Seiji Maehara
is a Japanese politician who has been a member of the House of Representatives of Japan since 1993. He was the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan from 2005 to 2006, and later served as Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and Minister of Foreign Affairs under the cabinets...

 visited the site on August 12, 2010 to pray for the victims.

Beginning in 2007, British academic Christopher Hood began writing a book on the crash and its effect on Japanese society. The book, entitled Dealing with Disaster in Japan: Responses to the Flight JL123 Crash, was published by Routledge
Routledge
Routledge is a British publishing house which has operated under a succession of company names and latterly as an academic imprint. Its origins may be traced back to the 19th-century London bookseller George Routledge...

 in September 2011.

Remembrance

The crash also led to the 2006 opening of the Safety Promotion Center
Safety Promotion Center
The is a museum and educational center operated by Japan Airlines to promote airline safety. It is located on the second floor of the on the grounds of Tokyo International Airport in Ota, Tokyo, Japan...

. It is located in the Daini Sogo Building on the grounds of Tokyo International Airport
Tokyo International Airport
, commonly known as , is one of the two primary airports that serve the Greater Tokyo Area in Japan. It is located in Ōta, Tokyo, south of Tokyo Station....

. This center was created for training purposes to alert employees of the importance of airline safety and their personal responsibility to ensure safety. The center, which has displays regarding air safety
Air safety
Air safety is a term encompassing the theory, investigation and categorization of flight failures, and the prevention of such failures through regulation, education and training. It can also be applied in the context of campaigns that inform the public as to the safety of air travel.-United...

, the history of the crash, and selected pieces of the aircraft and passenger effects (including handwritten farewell notes), is also open to the public by appointment made one day prior to the visit.

Dramatization

Japan Airlines Flight 123 is featured in the TV series Mayday
Mayday (TV series)
Mayday, also known as Air Crash Investigation in the United Kingdom, Australia and Asia and Air Emergency and Air Disasters in the United States, is a Canadian documentary television programme produced by Cineflix investigating air crashes, near-crashes and other disasters...

(called Air Emergency in the U.S. and Air Crash Investigation in other countries outside Canada) 3rd season episode 3 "Out of Control (Japanese title "")".

The crash is also the subject of a BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 television documentary (Disaster: JAL 123 – A Japanese Tragedy) first shown in 1999. The documentary highlights Japan's alleged refusal for a US military helicopter to provide assistance two hours after the crash and concludes by drawing parallels with Japan's reluctance to accept foreign help in the wake of the Great Hanshin Earthquake
Great Hanshin earthquake
The Great Hanshin earthquake, or Kobe earthquake, was an earthquake that occurred on Tuesday, January 17, 1995, at 05:46 JST in the southern part of Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. It measured 6.8 on the moment magnitude scale , and Mj7.3 on JMA magnitude scale. The tremors lasted for approximately 20...

 in 1995.

To date three films have been made about Japan Airlines Flight 123. Osutakayama, directed by , was released in 2005. The central theme of this film is that the plane was shot down following orders from Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone
Yasuhiro Nakasone
is a Japanese politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan from November 27, 1982 to November 6, 1987. A contemporary of Brian Mulroney, Ronald Reagan, Helmut Kohl, François Mitterrand, Margaret Thatcher, and Mikhail Gorbachev, he is best known for pushing through the privatization of...

. was released in 2008. This film is based on the novel by Hideo Yokoyama
Hideo Yokoyama
is a Japanese novelist.Yokoyama specialized in mystery novels. He worked constantly during the first three days of 2003 and received a heart attack and subsequent hospitalization on the fourth.His best-selling work was Doki....

. The novel and film revolve around the reporting of the crash at the fictional Kita-Kanto Shimbun. Yokoyama was a journalist at the Jōmō Shimbun
Jōmō Shimbun
Jōmō Shimbun is the regional daily newspaper published in Gunma prefecture, Japan.It was established in 1887 and has a circulation of 311,534...Hideo Yokoyama, a novelist, had worked for the Jōmō Shimbun as a journalist for 12 years.-External links:...

 at the time of the crash.

In 2009, Shizumanu Taiyō
Shizumanu Taiyō
is a 2009 Japanese film directed by Setsurō Wakamatsu. It is also known as The Unbroken in the United States.Shizumanu Taiyō is based on a novel by Toyoko Yamasaki. Set in the 1960s, the story centers on Hajime Onchi, the chairman of the employees' union for a large national airline corporation...

, starring Ken Watanabe
Ken Watanabe
is a Japanese stage, film, and television actor. To English-speaking audiences he is known for playing tragic hero characters, such as General Tadamichi Kuribayashi in Letters from Iwo Jima and Lord Katsumoto Moritsugu in The Last Samurai, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best...

, was released to national distribution in Japan. The film, which does not mention JAL by name, instead using the name "National Airlines", gives a semi-fictional account of internal airline corporate disputes and politics surrounding the crash. JAL did not cooperate with the making of the film. JAL criticized the film, saying that it, "not only damages public trust in the company but could lead to a loss of customers."

The last 38 seconds of the cockpit voice recording
Cockpit voice recorder
A cockpit voice recorder , often referred to as a "black box", is a flight recorder used to record the audio environment in the flight deck of an aircraft for the purpose of investigation of accidents and incidents...

 appeared on certain pressings of the album Reise, Reise
Reise, Reise
Reise, Reise is Neue Deutsche Härte band Rammstein's fourth studio album. It was released on 27 September 2004 in Germany and followed shortly by its release across Europe. It was released in North America on 16 November 2004...

by Rammstein
Rammstein
Rammstein is a German Neue Deutsche Härte band from Berlin, formed in 1994. The band consists of members Till Lindemann , Richard Z. Kruspe , Paul H. Landers , Oliver "Ollie" Riedel , Christoph "Doom" Schneider and Christian "Flake" Lorenz...

. The final 2 minutes of the recording, with English subtitles, are also available on YouTube.

The cockpit voice recording of the incident also became part of the script of a play called Charlie Victor Romeo
Charlie Victor Romeo
Charlie Victor Romeo is a 1999 play whose script consists of almost-verbatim transcripts from six real-life aviation accidents and incidents. "Charlie Victor Romeo," or CVR, derived from the NATO phonetic alphabet, is aviation lingo for cockpit voice recorder...

.

The crash of Flight 123 is thought to be an inspiration for the visual novel
Visual novel
A is an interactive fiction game featuring mostly static graphics, usually with anime-style art, or occasionally live-action stills or video footage...

 Remember11, which begins with the crash of a passenger plane on an Aomori mountain, killing all but four survivors.

See also

  • List of accidents and incidents on commercial airliners
  • Flight with disabled controls
    Flight with disabled controls
    Several aviation incidents and accidents have occurred in which the control surfaces of the aircraft became disabled, often due to failure of hydraulic systems or the flight control system. Other incidents have occurred where controls were not functioning correctly prior to take-off, either due to...

  • China Airlines Flight 611
    China Airlines Flight 611
    China Airlines Flight 611 was a regularly scheduled flight from Chiang Kai-shek International Airport in Taoyuan to Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong...

     involved a China Airlines
    China Airlines
    China Airlines is both the flag carrier and the largest airline of Republic of China . Although not directly state-owned, the airline is owned by China Airlines Group, which is owned by the China Aviation Development Foundation...

     Boeing 747
    Boeing 747
    The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

     aircraft that crashed in Taiwan Strait
    Taiwan Strait
    The Taiwan Strait or Formosa Strait, formerly known as the Black Ditch, is a 180-km-wide strait separating Mainland China and Taiwan. The strait is part of the South China Sea and connects to East China Sea to the northeast...

     in 2002 on a flight from Taipei
    Taipei
    Taipei City is the capital of the Republic of China and the central city of the largest metropolitan area of Taiwan. Situated at the northern tip of the island, Taipei is located on the Tamsui River, and is about 25 km southwest of Keelung, its port on the Pacific Ocean...

     to Hong Kong, also because of faulty maintenance done on a tailstrike accident long before the crash date, finally causing the aircraft's structure to fail and disintegrate in flight.
  • United Airlines Flight 232
    United Airlines Flight 232
    United Airlines Flight 232 was a scheduled flight from Stapleton International Airport in Denver, Colorado, to O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, with continuing service to Philadelphia International Airport...

     was another case where all control surfaces failed. Dennis E. Fitch
    Dennis E. Fitch
    Dennis E. "Denny" Fitch is a retired commercial airline pilot. He is best known for his critical actions as an off-duty DC-10 training captain who helped captain Al Haynes minimize loss of life on United Airlines Flight 232 when all flight controls were lost, on July 19, 1989...

    , a DC-10 instructor used a steer-by-throttle technique to guide the United plane to an emergency landing at Sioux City, Iowa
    Sioux City, Iowa
    Sioux City is a city in Plymouth and Woodbury counties in the western part of the U.S. state of Iowa. The population was 82,684 in the 2010 census, a decline from 85,013 in the 2000 census, which makes it currently the fourth largest city in the state....

    . Although a wing struck the ground at touchdown and the plane broke up and caught fire, 185 out of 296 passengers and crew survived.
  • DHL shootdown incident in Baghdad
    DHL shootdown incident in Baghdad
    On 22 November 2003, shortly after takeoff from Baghdad, Iraq, an Airbus A300 cargo plane owned by European Air Transport was struck on the left wing tip by a surface-to-air missile. Severe wing damage resulted in a fire and complete loss of hydraulic flight control systems. Because outboard left...

     when an Airbus A300 was struck by missile causing a total loss of hydraulics. The crew managed to land the crippled aircraft safely using the throttles.
  • Air India Flight 182
    Air India Flight 182
    Air India Flight 182 was an Air India flight operating on the Montreal–London–Delhi route. On 23 June 1985, the airplane operating on the route a Boeing 747-237B named after Emperor Kanishka was blown up by a bomb at an altitude of , and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean while in Irish airspace.A...

     another 747 crash in 1985.


Books

  • Hood, Christopher P., Dealing with Disaster in Japan: Responses to the Flight JL123 Crash, (2011), Routledge, 978-0415456623

External links

Accident investigation report

Aircraft Accident Report - Aircraft Accident Investigation Commission (East Asian fonts may need to be installed) Aircraft Accident Report - Aircraft Accident Investigation Commission

Japan Airlines

  • Learning from the Past Japan Airlines
    Japan Airlines
    is an airline headquartered in Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan. It is the flag carrier of Japan and its main hubs are Tokyo's Narita International Airport and Tokyo International Airport , as well as Nagoya's Chūbu Centrair International Airport and Osaka's Kansai International Airport...


Other links

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