ASDF fighters from Naha scramble most ever in 2016

Ministry of Defense announced that fighter jets from the Air Self-Defense Force Naha Base flew a record number of scrambling missions in 2016 against foreign aircraft suspected of violating the Japanese air space.

According to the Ministry’s numbers, the Japanese fighter jets took off on scrambling missions a total of 1,168 times that is the most since 1958. Of the total, the JASDF Naha Air Base jets counted for 851 times against Chinese aircraft, the most ever. However, no actual violation of the territorial airspace took place.

The Chinese military have increased their activities in the East China Sea area, specifically around Senkaku Islands, the ownership of which is under dispute. The increasing number of incidents highlights the fact that tension in the area has been increasing.

The scrambles in 2016 exceeded those in 1984 that marked the old record when the former Soviet Union was active.

The Southwestern Composite Air Division in Naha dispatched teams 803 times (531 times in 2015), which counted for 69% of all, the Northern Air Defense Force sent its fighters 265 times (205 times in 2015), and the Western Air Defense Force 66 times (87 times in 2015).

Chinese military aircraft have been pressing ahead with their activities over the seas near Japan, including an incident when a total of 13 Chinese aircraft, including fighters and bombers, flew between Okinawa Main Island and Miyako in February this year.

Chinese military aircraft often take a route over the East China Sea around Senkaku Islands,.