Japan’s Air Self Defense Force is now on alert after detecting two Russian bombers that made a fly-by near its airspace on Monday. A major news agency quoted the Ministry of Defense on their report, saying that two Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bombers were spotted over the Pacific Ocean, near the Japanese capital of Tokyo.
Even though the aircraft did not violate Japanese airspace, any sightings of suspicious aircraft near it is always a cause for concern, as the country has an ongoing territorial dispute with Russia over the Northern Territories, which they call the Sakhalin islands. The report says the pair of bombers flew southwards towards Okinawa, where the United States military forces are hosted. They then turned around and flew northeast along the length of the entire archipelago before heading north towards Sakhalin. The air force has been on alert since Saturday when two Russian Tupolev Tu-142 reconnaissance planes also flew near Japan.
The Defense Ministry said they are still analyzing why they sent those two pairs of planes on flybys and no statement has been forthcoming from Russia on this issue. Between July and September of this year, the Air Self Defense Forces have been on alert 105 times due to several close encounters with Russian planes. This despite efforts from both governments to once again open talks over the dispute, which is the cause of the two countries not having diplomatic relations and not formally singing a declaration of peace from World War II.
[ via Ria Novosti ]