Japan & China fighter jets face off in East China Sea

China scramble

The FT reports that Japanese F-15 and Chinese Su-30 fighter jets came into close proximity over the disputed Senkaku/Diayou Islands mid June. As we wrote the other week, Japan has seen a sharp rise in Chinese aircraft incursions in recent years. The Chinese accuse the JASDF fighters from ‘locking-on’ fire-control radar, something like you might have seen in  Top Gun for those who aren’t sure what it is. Japanese officials deny the claim. Generally missile locking radar is regarded as a pretty provocative move. The Japanese accused the Chinese of locking missile radar on a destroyer 3.5 years ago. So if people wonder why the government wants to change the constitution this is part of it.

Reading through the latest Japanese Self Defense White Paper and this is what they reported:

“On November 16 and 17, 2013, a Tu-154 intelligence gathering aircraft flew over the East China Sea on two consecutive days. On November 23, the Chinese government announced that it established the “East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)” including the Senkaku Islands which China described as if they were a part of China’s “territory,” that it obligated aircraft flying in the said zone to abide by the rules set forth by the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, and that the Chinese Armed Forces would take “defensive emergency measures” in the case where such aircraft does not follow the instructed procedures. Japan is deeply concerned about such measures, which are profoundly dangerous acts that unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea, escalating the situation, and that could cause unintended consequences in the
East China Sea.”


China has often used anti-Japan sentiment to externalise domestic problems. One wonders whether we see a repeat of the 2012 anti-Japan demonstrations which targeted Japanese businesses in China after the Japanese government purchased the Senkaku Islands off a private owner.

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