Japan, U.S. Diplomats Share Concern About Balloons

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, right, smiles as Japan’s Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Takeo Mori, left, speaks during a news conference, on Monday,

WASHINGTON — Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Takeo Mori spoke with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in Washington on Tuesday, and the two shared their concerns about China’s surveillance balloons.

According to a statement issued by the U.S. side, they said the presence of Chinese surveillance balloons over both Japan and the United States is “provocative behavior” and agreed that “such overflights are a violation of sovereignty and international law.”

On Wednesday morning, the Liberal Democratic Party held a joint meeting of its National Defense Division and Research Commission on Security at party headquarters to discuss how to respond to the issue.

According to Minoru Kihara, chairperson of the commission, and other sources, the Defense Ministry revealed at the meeting a policy to consider changing the interpretation of the SDF law, which stipulates how to respond to intrusions into Japanese airspace.

The law allows the shooting down of aircraft that intrude into Japanese airspace, but the clause primarily refers to fighter jets. It does not assume cases of balloons or unmanned aerial vehicles.

The ministry is expected to strengthen its countermeasures, with an eye on intrusions by balloons.