Japanese fighter jets deal with foreign aircraft more than 1,000 times a year

The Japanese fighter made 1,004 sorties to respond to foreign military aircraft in a year, the second highest since the data was released.

The above figures were recorded by the Japanese Ministry of Defense in the fiscal year 2021, which ended in March, and announced on April 15. This is the second highest number of sorties since Japan released data from 1958, the highest number recorded in fiscal 2016 was 1,168.

Of these, 722 flights of Japanese fighters responded to Chinese aircraft, up from 458 in 2020. Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the number of sorties increased due to China’s increased intelligence gathering, It also said its reconnaissance flights “became diverse and sophisticated”.

Japan's F-15J fighter jet flies over the Pacific Ocean during the October 2021 exercise.  Photo: USAF.

Japan’s F-15J fighter jet flies over the Pacific Ocean during the October 2021 exercise. Image: USAF.

The Southwest Air Self-Defense Force sent fighter jets to respond to Chinese military aircraft 652 times, the most among the four divisions of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).

This unit, based in Okinawa, is responsible for monitoring the surrounding area, including the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu island group. Japan has repeatedly claimed that Chinese coast guard ships “intruded into territorial waters” around this group of islands.

Japanese fighter aircraft 266 times to respond to Russian military aircraft, an increase of 8 times compared to fiscal year 2020. Minister Kishi said that Russian aircraft maintained operations in the region even when they launched the operation. special forces in Ukraine since the end of February.

Japan’s Ministry of Defense said that “Russian aircraft violated its airspace” in September 2021 and March, both times off the coast of Hokkaido. Russian and Chinese bombers in November 2021 flew joint patrols over the Sea of ​​Japan, the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean.

Nguyen Tien (According to SCMP)

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