International

Japan scrambles jet fighter in record numbers as Chinese military activity rises

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's PC3 surveillance plane flies around the disputed islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku isles in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in this October 13, 2011 file photo.

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's PC3 surveillance plane flies around the disputed islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku isles in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in this October 13, 2011 file photo.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Japan's air force scrambled fighter jets to chase away foreign aircraft at record pace in the year to March 31, government figures showed on Thursday, as Chinese military activity in and around the East China Sea escalated.

Japanese fighters scrambled 1,168 times over the 12-month period compared with 873 times last year, according to a media release from the Japanese Air Self Defence Force. That was also well above the previous high of 944 incidents in 1984.

Of those, a record 851 jets were sent to head off Chinese planes closing in on Japanese airspace, 280 times more than in the same period last year.

Japan worries that Beijing's probing of its air defences is a sign of China's intent to extend its military influence in the East China Sea and western Pacific, where Japan controls a chain of islands stretching 1,400 km from the mainland south towards Taiwan.

Encounters with Russian aircraft, which are often bombers flying from the north that skirt around Japan's airspace, rose 4.5 % to 301 scrambles.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 9:36:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/japan-scrambles-jet-fighter-in-record-numbers-as-chinese-military-activity-rises/article17979579.ece

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