Japan SDF Fighters Scramble 555 Times in April-Dec.

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The main gate of the Defense Ministry is seen in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo.

TOKYO, Jan. 23 (Jiji Press) — Japan’s Self-Defense Forces scrambled fighter jets 555 times to counter possible airspace incursions in April-December last year, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

While the figure was down from 612 logged in the same period a year earlier, the ministry said that operations involving Chinese and Russian military aircraft remained active.

Scrambles against Chinese aircraft accounted for 392 times, or about 70 pct of the total, down by 70. The number of scrambles against Russian aircraft increased by 15 to 148.

In December, China and Russia conducted their second joint flight of the year, with their bombers and fighter jets flying over the Sea of Japan and other areas.

Aircraft takeoffs and landings took place 570 times at the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong in waters south of the southernmost Japan prefecture of Okinawa between October and November.