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10:53 AM, July 22, 2015
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Japan Scrambled Fighter Jets 464 Times Against Chinese Aircraft In 2014
Chinese GX-8 SIGINT aircraft over the East China Sea (Image Source: Japan Air Self Defense Force)

The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force scrambled fighter jets 464 times against alleged Chinese violation of its airspace in 2014.

This information was revealed in the annual Japanese white paper on defense. It says the Air Self-Defense Force scrambled fighter jets a record 464 times against Chinese aircraft close to Japanese airspace in fiscal 2014, up 49 times from a year earlier.

The annual white paper on defense for 2015 in its assessment has accused China of increased ‘high-handed’ actions to change the status quo by force in the East China Sea and South China Sea.

“China ‘routinely’ sends ships to waters around the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Seas. Activities by Chinese naval and air force aircraft, which apparently gather information about our country, have been observed frequently,” the whitepaper says.

It adds that some of these activities “could trigger contingencies.”

“Lack of transparency in military and security affairs has made China’s military development a matter of concern to its neighbors and international community including our nation,” Defense Minister Gen Nakatani was quoted as saying by Japan Times news daily Tuesday.

China however has called the whitepaper as “maliciously hyped up such issues as the East China Sea, the South China Sea, cyber security, military transparency and so forth, played up the fallacy of the so-called China's military threat and defamed the Chinese armed forces,” the Information Affairs Office of China's MND was quoted as saying by China Military Online on Tuesday.

According to the whitepaper, China has been building an offshore gas platform in East China Sea since June 2013 despite an agreement to build natural gas fields jointly by both the nation signed in 2008. The gas platform lies in the Chinese side based on demarcation Japan had proposed.

The paper says Japan has raised its concerns over the project. “Our country has repeatedly lodged protests with China’s unilateral development and urged it to stop the construction work,” it says.

The Japanese Defense Ministry said Tuesday that it remains deeply concerned about China’s maritime ambitions in the region, particularly in the light of Chinese domestic trends. The Cabinet’s approval of the white paper came after the Liberal Democratic Party rejected a draft version in early July on the grounds that it was too soft on China.

The references to China’s action in this matter were added after the LDP rejected the first draft. The party reportedly said it lacked details about China’s building of a platform that it fears could be used for military purposes.

In November 2013, China abruptly declared an air defense identification zone over the East China Sea that covers the Senkakus.

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