TOKYO, July 6 (UPI) — Japan was forced to scramble their Air Self-Defense Force jets a record 199 times between April and June when Chinese airplanes neared Japanese airspace, the SDF’s Joint Staff said Tuesday.
The alarming number was a rise of one incident from the previous three month period of this year, but jumped by 85 from 2015. Most of the aircraft — including Chinese military planes — appeared over the East China Sea, according to the Joint Staff.
“The area where Chinese planes are active is continuing to expand, particularly southward,” an official at the Joint Staff said. The area south is the Senkakus, claimed by China.
ASDF fighters scrambled a total of 281 times in the three-month period, including 78 times against Russian planes. However, in that time, no Chinese or Russian aircraft actually violated Japanese airspace.