Chinese Navy ship entered Japanese waters

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan’s Defense Ministry said Friday that a Chinese navy ship intruded into Japanese territorial waters this week after sailing in the contiguous zone south of the southwestern Japan island of Yakushima.

It was the fourth such incursion by a Chinese navy vessel, with the last one taking place in July 2017, according to the ministry.

The Japanese government communicated its concerns to China via a diplomatic channel.

Also on Friday, it was confirmed that bombers of the Chinese and Russian air forces have flown around Japan. The ministry has increased vigilance and is analyzing the purposes of the flights.

According to the ministry’s Joint Staff, a P-1 patrol plane of the Maritime Self-Defense Force spotted the Chinese survey vessel in the contiguous zone south of the island in Kagoshima Prefecture at around 8:40 p.m. on Wednesday (11:40 a.m. GMT). It was heading west toward Japanese territorial waters.

The vessel was confirmed to have moved to the contiguous zone west of Kuchinoerabu, an island also in Kagoshima, at around 1:20 a.m. on Thursday.

The ministry concluded that the ship had sailed in Japanese waters around the two islands on Wednesday night.

As the ship subsequently headed toward mainland China, no order for maritime policing action was issued.

The first intrusion into Japanese territorial waters by a Chinese navy ship in four years came at a time when Chinese government ships have repeatedly entered Japanese waters around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan. China claims the Japanese-administered islands, calling them Diaoyu.

In 2017, a Chinese navy information-gathering vessel intruded into Japanese waters off the town of Matsumae, Hokkaido, northernmost Japan, after sailing in the Tsugaru Strait.

On Friday, two TU-95 bombers of Russia and two H-6 bombers of China entered Japan’s air defense identification zone from above the Sea of Japan off Shimane Prefecture, western Japan. After flying above the East China Sea, the aircraft traveled around Okinawa’s main island and Miyakojima, another island in Okinawa.

Self-Defense Forces aircraft was scrambled, but there was no violation of Japan’s airspace, according to ministry officials.

It was the third time that Russian and Chinese air force planes have flew around Japan for long hours.