Japan Scrambles Jets, Says Russia Violated Airspace
As Japan holds rally demanding Moscow return group of disputed islands
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 7, 2013 6:30 AM CST
In this photo from Japan's Defense Ministry, a Tupolev 95 flies over the Izu island, just south of Tokyo, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2008, when the Russian air force bomber briefly violated Japanese airspace.   (AP Photo/Japan's Defense Ministry, HO)

(Newser) – Japan's Defense Ministry says two Russian fighter jets briefly intruded into Japanese airspace today off the northern tip of the island of Hokkaido. Japanese jets scrambled after the intrusion by the two SU-27 jets off the coast of Rishiri island, which lasted just over a minute, according to ministry official Yoshihide Yoshida. Yoshida says it's unclear whether the airspace violation was intentional or accidental, but that it was "extremely problematic." The last intrusion by Russian jets in Japanese airspace was on Feb. 9, 2008, he says. Moscow has denied the claim, reports RT.

Another Japanese official says it's not immediately clear whether the intrusion was related to a government-sponsored rally held today demanding that Moscow return a group of disputed islands off Hokkaido's eastern coast captured by the Russians in 1945. Soviet troops captured the islands in the waning days of World War II, forcing about 17,000 Japanese residents to be deported over the next few years. The islands are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and are believed to have offshore oil and natural gas reserves, plus gold and silver deposits.

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Showing 3 of 16 comments
Feb 8, 2013 6:53 AM CST
Those pesky Japense whale ships. Watch for new documentary on Discovery channel soon,
Feb 7, 2013 10:36 PM CST
The japanese have enough wealth. i hope the Russians don't give the island back... see how they like political stranglehold used on THEM for a change. The japanese send ships to Antarctica every year to hunt endangered whales and claim it's for research, but when they get back to shore, the meat is already packaged and ready for sale at $64. a pound. Yet nobody tries to end this because of their foothold on the world's economy.
Feb 7, 2013 9:11 AM CST
If it had been a passenger airliner I doubt the Japanese would have shot it down, unlike what the Russians did.