The JASDF 501st Squadron was formed at Matsushima on December 1, 1961 equipped with RF-86Fs. In 1975 the 501st Tactical Reconnaissance Group moved to Hyakuri with their new RF-4Es. In 1992 seven RF-4EJs and eight RF-4EJ Kai had been converted and updated from the normal F-4E. The early 1980s saw the introduction of the F-15 so F-4EJs were heavily modified and could carry 3 types of external sensor pods of which one was the LOROP (Long Range Oblique Photography) pod with KS-146B camera.
In 1974 Hikotai 501 received its first RF-4E and were transferred to Hyakuri AB. JASDF RF-4E Phantom II was constructed in 1975 c/n 4603 arrived in 1975. In the early 90s, most RF-4EJs were updated and re-designated RF-4EJ Kai (“Kai” “modifications with update”). The RF-4Es served with the unit until 2020 when this type of aircraft was being retired. RF-4E 47-6905 and 57-6907 were given a special paint scheme to commemorate the retirement of the JASDF RF-4E aircraft. These 2 aircraft wore what looks like a roll of 35mm film marked with 1961 2020.