Apr 14, 2014

Japan’s Dispatches of Jets Against China Rise to Record

Japan’s dispatches of fighter jets to pursue Chinese aircraft rose by a third in the past year to a record 415 times, reflecting growing tensions stemming from a territorial dispute in the East China Sea.
Planes and Coast Guard ships from both countries regularly tail one another around a chain of uninhabited islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Tensions over the dispute have led to a deterioration in Sino-Japanese relations at a time when both countries are increasing military spending.
The total number of times Japanese jets were sent up reached 810 in the year to the end of March, compared with 567 the previous year. Dispatches against Chinese aircraft made up 51 percent of the total, with the bulk of the remainder against Russian planes and nine against North Korea.
China this week accused Japan of taking provocative actions around the islands and said his country would never back down on its territorial claims.
Tensions over the islands, which are under Japanese administration, have been on the rise since Sept. 2012, when the Japanese government bought three of the five islands from a private. That decision prompted anti-Japanese protests across China and led to boycotts of Japanese goods there.
China further fanned tensions in November when it declared an air defense identification zone over a large swath of the East China Sea covering the islands and demanded that all foreign aircraft report their flight plans to Chinese authorities.

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