Japan deploys jets against Chinese aircraft 199 times in three months
Japan claims Chinese military activity intensifying near contested areas of the East China Sea
Japan scrambled Air Self-Defence Force fighter jets against Chinese aircraft approaching its airspace a record 199 times in the April-June period, the Defence Ministry’s Joint Staff said on Tuesday.
The previous record of 198 was set over the preceding three months, and shows, according to Japanese authorities, Chinese military activity, including naval operations, is intensifying in areas near the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
The Joint Staff said the area of Chinese aircraft activity has been moving southward, nearing the islands that are also claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu.
Japan scrambled ASDF fighters 281 times in the three months through June, also including 78 times against Russian aircraft. No Chinese or Russian aircraft violated Japanese airspace during the period.
But a report published last week on a news website and written by a former head of the ASDF Air Support Command described an incident in which, it claimed, a Chinese fighter had manoeuvred aggressively as if to attack an ASDF plane over the East China Sea.
The Joint Staff has denied the report.
On Monday, the Chinese Defence Ministry countered the report, saying two ASDF planes had locked onto two Chinese fighter jets with their radar, a provocative action since that enables radar-guided munitions.
The Japanese government on Tuesday dismissed the claim as groundless.