TOKYO (TR) – The Japanese Self-Defense Forces scrambled fighter interceptors over the northwestern tip of Hokkaido Thursday after two Russian Su-27 jets breached its airspace, the Financial Times reported.
The Japanese government lodged a formal complaint with the Russian Embassy in Tokyo over the incident, which they said lasted just over a minute. Russia’s defense ministry said its forces were engaged in maneuvers in the area but denied the Japanese claims, according to FT.
February 7 is Northern Territories Day in Japan, an annual event meant to press Russia to return islands off northeastern Hokkaido, called the Southern Kuriles, that were seized by Soviet troops in the closing days of World War II.
It is the first time in 5 years that Russian planes have violated Japanese airspace, FT said. Japan also has territorial disputes with China over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, held by Japan, and with South Korea over the Dokdo Islands in the Sea of Japan, administered by Seoul.
Source: Financial Times
Photo source: U.S. government