The Air Self-Defense Force scrambled fighters against foreign aircraft approaching Japanese airspace 193 times from July to September, the highest number for this period since 1999, the Defense Ministry said Oct. 9.
According to the ministry, 105 of the scrambles were for Russian aircraft, more than triple the 31 in the April-June period.
For Chinese military aircraft, ASDF fighters were scrambled 80 times, an increase of 11 from the April-June period.
The targeted aircraft were mainly Chinese fighter jets and Russian patrol planes, according to ministry officials.
One of the scrambles was ordered when a Chinese Y-8 airborne early warning plane flew through airspace between Okinawa Prefecture’s main island and the smaller Miyakojima island in southern Japan for the first time on July 24. The Chinese plane returned through the same route.
On Sept. 8, two Chinese H-6 bombers used the same route.
The following day, an apparent Chinese military drone was spotted near the disputed Senkaku islands in the East China Sea.
Two Russian bombers entered Japanese air space near Okinoshima island off Fukuoka Prefecture on Aug. 22.
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