MOSCOW, August 26 (RIA Novosti) – The Japanese Defense Ministry has scrambled its interceptors for the second time in four days in response to the approach of Russian military airplanes, local media said late Sunday.
Two Russian Il-38 anti-submarine patrol aircraft passed near Japan’s northern shores, though they did not violate the country’s airspace, the Japanese Defense Ministry said in a statement cited by Jiji newswire.
The Russian military had not commented on the incident by the time of this article’s publication.
Last Thursday, Japanese fighters were scrambled over alleged violations of the country’s airspace by two Russian Tu-95 strategic bombers. The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed Tu-95s were flying in the area, but denied they had entered Japanese airspace. Similar incidents also took place in May and June this year.
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New ties between Russia and Japan would mark not only a breakthrough in their relations but also a significant shift in Northeast Asia’s political dynamic. Both are secondary players in a region overshadowed by an increasingly assertive China, which has not hesitated to push against the boundaries of its neighbors.