An historic Japanese Second World War fighter aircraft has taken to the skies for first time in 71 years over Southern Japan. The Zero was flown from Kanoya naval base in Kagoshima by a former US Air Force pilot on 28 January.

The newly restored plane was in the air for around 20 minutes. The aircraft was originally rediscovered in Papau New Guinea in the 1970s before being restored by an American collector.

It was more recently bought by Masahiro Ishizuka, a New Zealand-based Japanese businessman, for ¥350m (£2m, $3.5m) in 2010.

Ishizuka said: "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. Each of them should have different thoughts and perspectives on this, but I just want people to know how Japan has developed its technology."

Zeros were used for kamikaze operations during the Second World War. In terms of design, they were generally seen as a symbol of technological advance in the country, similar to the Spitfire in the UK. The Zero measures 9m (30ft) in length and 12m (39ft) in width.