ASDF fighters scrambled 160 times against Chinese

It was more than training missions for the Japanese Air Self-Defense Forces, responding more than 160 times over a nine-month period last year to challenge Chinese fighters venturing near Japanese territory.

The ASDF says the 160 sorties between April and December set a new record, surpassing 156 missions during all of fiscal year 2011.  In the nine months, ASDF fighter jets were scrambled 349 times in total, with 180 of those missions against Russian aircraft.

The majority of the missions against Chinese were when Chinese aircraft flew over the East China Sea around the Nansei Islands in southwest Okinawa Prefecture.  The region includes the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands, which are contested by the Chinese and Taiwan.

The chief of the Air Self-Defense Forces, General Shigeru Iwasaki, says “when compared with the same period last year, there was a slight increase.”  At the same time, he noted talking about scrambles against Chinese aircraft, “the number is getting high.”  The increase, he added, is due to increasing Chinese military operations over the past several years.  Iwasaki says that goes beyond merely the Senkaku dispute.

The ASDF has been on alert repeatedly over the past months, dispatching E-2C early warning aircraft and airborne early warning and control system aircraft to Okinawa to be able to handle responses more rapidly.iwan.st Okinawa Prefecture.  The region includes the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands, which are contested by the Chinese an