News / Asia

Japan Mulls Aerial Patrols to Protect Disputed Islands

Locator map of the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands
Locator map of the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands
Japan says it intends to strengthen its aerial surveillance, hoping to prevent a repeat of an unprecedented incident Thursday when a Chinese government plane flew near disputed isles in the East China Sea.

The Japanese Air Self Defense Force scrambled eight F-15 fighter jets after a coast guard vessel radioed that a Chinese aircraft was flying just south of the largest disputed island.

Japanese land-based radar failed to detect the low flying turboprop surveillance plane from China.

An airplane belonging to China's state oceanic administration flies past about 15 km (9 miles) south of one of the disputed islets in this handout released by 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters-Japan Coast Guard, December 13, 2012.An airplane belonging to China's state oceanic administration flies past about 15 km (9 miles) south of one of the disputed islets in this handout released by 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters-Japan Coast Guard, December 13, 2012.
x
An airplane belonging to China's state oceanic administration flies past about 15 km (9 miles) south of one of the disputed islets in this handout released by 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters-Japan Coast Guard, December 13, 2012.
An airplane belonging to China's state oceanic administration flies past about 15 km (9 miles) south of one of the disputed islets in this handout released by 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters-Japan Coast Guard, December 13, 2012.
China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei responded to reporters' questions Friday about the incident.

Hong says the foreign ministry has demanded many times Japan cease its "illegal activities in territorial aerospace and waters of the Diaoyu Islands, including withdrawing their aircraft."  He adds that Japan has not responded and having a Chinese maritime surveillance plane protect China's territorial sovereignty is "totally normal."

Japanese authorities term unprecedented such a violation of their airspace by a Chinese aircraft.

Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Osamu Fujimura, says further such incidents will be dealt with firmly. Fujimura says the defense ministry is considering patrols by E2C early warning aircraft and AWACS control planes. Japan, he says, wants to utilize every measure it can to protect its airspace.

The provocative flight came during a week when China also sent a flotilla of navy ships near the islands, known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. The presence of the naval vessels follow what have become almost routine sailings near the territory by Chinese maritime surveillance ships.

The long-festering territorial dispute flared this year after Japan's central government moved to purchase the islands from a private Japanese owner.

That action was taken to keep the islands out of the hands of then Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara. He has since quit the post and formed a new political party.

Ishihara's fringe Japan Restoration Party is hoping to capture enough seats in Sunday's parliamentary election to have influence in forming the next government.

The governing Democratic Party of Japan is widely forecast to lose its grip on power. The largest conservative party, the Liberal Democratic Party, hopes it will capture enough seats outright to place its leader, former prime minister Shinzo Abe, back in his old job.

Abe is known for his hawkish stance towards China.

Although polls show voters, of which 40 percent say they are undecided on their party of preference, are primarily concerned with economic issues, political analysts assert public concern about the increasing Chinese patrols around the islands could give a boost to Abe's and Ishihara's parties.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid