The Japan Air Self-Defense Force scrambled its fighter jets 638 times between April 1, 2018, and March 31, 2019, in response to Chinese drones, fighter jets, bombers and surveillance planes, according to statistics from Japan's Ministry of Defense. ANGELIQUE PEREZ/U.S. AIR FORCE
The Japan Air Self-Defense Force scrambled its fighter jets 638 times between April 1, 2018, and March 31, 2019, in response to Chinese drones, fighter jets, bombers and surveillance planes, according to statistics from Japan's Ministry of Defense. ANGELIQUE PEREZ/U.S. AIR FORCE

Japanese jet scrambles increased sharply in FY 2018 in response to China

by Matthew M. Burke and Aya Ichihashi
Stars and Stripes

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The number of jets Japan scrambled to intercept Chinese aircraft approaching its airspace rose sharply in fiscal year 2018, according to the nation’s Ministry of Defense.

Japan Air Self-Defense Force fighter jets were scrambled 638 times between April 1, 2018, and March 31 in response to approaching Chinese drones, fighters, bombers and surveillance planes, according to statistics released in April by the ministry.

That number represented an increase of 27.6%, nearly a third more flights than the previous fiscal year, but a decline of 25 percent from fiscal year 2016.

The ministry’s Joint Staff could not be reached for comment Tuesday due to the Japanese Golden Week holiday. In the past, it has attributed increases to the modernization of Chinese air power.

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.579002

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