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Japan scrambles jets after ‘Russian’ plane enters airspace

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 16, 2015

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Japan’s Defense Ministry says four Japanese fighter jets were scrambled Tuesday to intercept a foreign plane flying over the country’s airspace off Nemuro Peninsula, Hokkaido, according to news reports.

The aircraft, which Japanese officials believe to be Russian after analyzing its course, flew inside Japanese airspace for nearly 16 seconds just after 2 p.m., the ministry said.

The aircraft flew toward the Kuril islands, which are controlled by Russia but claimed by Japan, the ministry said.

“We made the protest through the Russian embassy in Tokyo,” a Japanese official told Agence France-Presse. “The Russian side did not confirm the case, only saying they will check.”

If the plane is Russian, the incident would mark the first time that nation has invaded Japan’s airspace since August 2013, when two Tu-95 bombers were intercepted off Okinoshima Island, north of Fukuoka on Kyushi Island.

news@stripes.com

In this Nov. 22, 2007 file photo, a F-22 Raptor based at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, intercepts 1 of 2 Russian Tu-95MS strategic bombers. On Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014, Pentagon officials said Raptors were among the aircraft that flew missions over Syria providing airstrikes against Islamic State militants. In August 2013, two planes were intercepted off Okinoshima Island, north of Fukuoka on Kyushi Island in Japan.
U.S. AIR FORCE

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