Two Russian fighters breach Japanese air space: Tokyo



by Hiroshi Hiyama

Published — Friday 8 February 2013

Last update 8 February 2013 4:19 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

TOKYO: Two Russian fighters violated Japanese airspace yesterday, Tokyo’s defense ministry said, prompting Japan to scramble its own warplanes in what was reported to be the first such incident in five years.
The planes were detected off the northern island of Hokkaido for just over a minute, shortly after Japan’s new prime minister said he wanted to find a “mutually acceptable solution” to a decades-old territorial row between the two.
Japan’s foreign ministry lodged a formal protest over what it said was an incursion by a pair of Russian Su-27 fighters. Four Japanese F-2 fighters were sent up to visually confirm the Russian planes, according to Kyodo news.
“Today, around 3:00 p.m. (0600 GMT), military fighters belonging to Russian Federation breached our nation’s airspace above territorial waters off Hokkaido’s Rishiri island,” the foreign ministry said.
If confirmed, it would be the first breach of Japanese airspace by Russia since February 2008, according to Japanese media reports.
However, Moscow denied any incursion had taken place, in a statement by the spokesman for the military command’s eastern district, Roman Martov, given to Russian news agencies.
“Flights by the air force of the Pacific Fleet take place regularly in this region, in strict adherence to the international rules, without violation of state borders,” it said.
The alleged incident came hours after hawkish Japanese premier Shinzo Abe, who swept to power in December with pledges to get tough on diplomacy, offered apparently conciliatory comments toward Moscow over the Russian-administered Southern Kurils, known as the Northern Territories in Japan.
Abe’s tone was in marked contrast to his uncompromising stance on a dispute with Beijing over the sovereignty of a different set of disputed islands.
“There is no change in my resolve to do everything I can toward sealing a peace treaty with Russia after resolving the issue of the Northern Territories,” Abe said.
In December, Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to restart talks on signing a peace treaty formally ending the hostilities of World War II that has been stymied by the dispute.
“In the telephone talks, I told President Putin I would make efforts to find a mutually acceptable solution so as to ultimately solve the issue of the Northern Territories,” Abe told a government-backed rally of around 2,000 former islanders and their descendants in Tokyo.
Soviet forces seized the isles, which stretch out into rich fishing waters off the northern coast of Hokkaido, in the dying days of WWII and drove out Japanese residents.
The islands were later re-populated by Russians but remain a poor and undeveloped part of the country.
Abe’s comments come as tensions between Japan and China have intensified over the sovereignty of the Tokyo-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, claimed by Beijing as the Diaoyus.
On Tuesday, Japan said a Chinese frigate had locked its weapons-targeting radar onto a Japanese military vessel; the first time the two nation’s navies have locked horns in a dispute that flared badly last summer.
Abe on Wednesday called the radar move “dangerous” and “provocative.”
Beijing shot back yesterday that Tokyo has been “hyping up crisis and deliberately creating tension to smear China’s image.”
The Japanese prime minister has repeatedly said there is no room for negotiation over the East China Sea islands. But he has also stressed the row should not harm overall ties with Beijing, an important trading partner.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Ministry of Education has suspended all parallel education programs, except in medical and engineering specialties, as well as bridging programs for health diploma certificates.Education Minister Azzam Al-Dhakil gave directions to the rec...
RIYADH: The Cooperative Health Insurance Council said it had suspended operations of six medical insurance companies for violating health insurance regulations by issuing insurance policies without completing the required documentation and violating...
JEDDAH: A local survey found that almost half of Saudis abide by rules and laws in public places outside the Kingdom more than they do inside the country.More than one-third of the respondent sample said they violate road traffic signs and directions...
DAMMAM: A 50 percent decline in the prices of some types of fish in the Dammam Central Market was noted compared to the previous month.Fish sellers attributed this decline to an increased fish supply and fall in demand from hotels and consumers durin...
RIYADH: In a two-day operation, police arrested 343 beggars including women and children during the holy month of Ramadan.A police officer said the raid was carried out in the Salehiya district and 220 of those arrested were women from Ethiopia. “Mos...
RIYADH: Hotels in the capital have made special arrangements by setting up Ramadan tents, where diners can visit to begin and break their fast with special suhoor and iftar meals during the ongoing fasting month.As the Ramadan tent is a popular pheno...
JEDDAH: Kaddadin, or unlicensed transporters, say there is good money to be made during Ramadan especially in transporting Umrah pilgrims from Jeddah to Makkah and back.During this month the number of visitors doubles or triples which means the price...
RIYADH: The holy month of Ramadan is lively at night following Taraweeh prayers. Nights are turned into days during the month in the industrial area where there is a large concentration of automobile workshops.The industrial areas are well illuminate...
RIYADH: The Saudi man behind the green project that ensured 3,400 trees in Khurais in the Eastern Province for a government firm has been approached by a Kuwaiti oil company for a similar project. “After learning about the project in the Eastern Prov...
RIYADH: A total of 1,300 Gambian pilgrims will come to the Kingdom to perform Haj this year, Ambassador Omar Gibril Sallah said on Thursday.“We hope that the pilgrims will observe the fifth pillar of Islam in peace and harmony and may Allah accept th...
RIYADH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) and the Disabled Children’s Association (DCA) have launched a traffic safety campaign, to reduce the number of accidents that cause disability.Prince Sultan bin Salman, the SCTNH...
JEDDAH: The holy month of Ramadan is a period when non-Muslim expatriates too abstain from eating, drinking or smoking during the daytime out of respect for Muslims who fast from dawn to dusk and also because it is healthy. The expatriates are also...
A policeman was killed in an anti-terror operation on Friday in the western city of Taif, according to the interior ministry. An exchange of fire resulted in the death of the policeman after a raid to arrest a wanted person, state news agency SPA quo...
RIYADH: Customs authorities at Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah have foiled an attempt to smuggle 52,850 Xanax capsules into the country.The drug, an anti-depressant, banned in the Kingdom, was found hidden under the clo...
RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has ordered that two men face trial for allegedly insulting the late King Abdullah.Quoting reliable sources, a local online publication said that King Salman has also barred Mohsin Al-Awaji and Ab...

Stay Connected

Facebook