World Bulletin/News Desk
Japan scrambled fighter jets a record number of times between April and June amid increased activity of Russian and Chinese aircraft, the Defence Ministry said on Wednesday, and as tension in the East China Sea remains high.
Japan has been locked in a bitter territorial dispute with China over a group of tiny East China Sea islets, while neighbouring North Korea has conducted missile tests and threatened a fourth nuclear test.
Scrambles against Russian planes jumped more than sevenfold from a year earlier to 235 in the three months, boosting the total number of scrambles to a record 340.
Scrambles against Chinese planes came to 104, up 51 percent on the year, but down from 128 in January-March.
A Defence Ministry spokesman declined to speculate on reasons behind the busier Russian activity, but analysts said it was only natural that countries step up surveillance in "unstable" regions.
"As a region gets more unstable, activities in the region including surveillance picks up," said Toshimichi Nagaiwa, a retired lieutenant general in Japan's Air Self-Defence Force.
"They ought to have interest in Chinese and North Korean activities. They are highly interested in U.S. and Japanese military operations as well."Last Mod: 09 Temmuz 2014, 10:56