According to numbers released by the Japanese Defense Ministry, during fiscal 2011 there were 425 incursions by foreign aircraft that were so close to Japan's airspace, that it actually prompted the scrambling of Japan's Air Self-Defense Force.
Aircraft (like the J-10 fighter jet) from China caused 156 responses, while military jets from Russia buzzed Japan's space 247 times.
No data was revealed on what other country or countries may have been involved in the other 22 incursions.
|Again with the Klingons?|
Holy crap. It's like Star Trek. The so-called Neutral Zone that separates Federation and Klingon space! No one is actually crossing INTO the other's territory, but is just actually getting near it.
"Captain! The Klingons have entered the Neutral Zone!"
"Again with the Klingons?"
Let's face it. These incursions near to Japan's airspace are no accident. Airplanes and their guidance systems are so high-tech that it's impossible to know that you have illegally stepped over an invisible line in the sky that is clearly known by all governments in the world who care.
China and Russia... you know that back in the original series of Star Trek, China was represented as the calculating Romulans, while the the Russians are the bombastic Klingons. America, and all her allies (like Japan) were represented by The Federation.
A ministry official told Japanese media that foreign aircraft, namely China's, are executing a wider range of missions far too close to Japan. It's considered "evidence in part of China's increasing military activity" and cause for concern.
"Flight patterns have diversified with intelligence-gathering aircraft standing out," noted the official.
According to the report, Chinese military jets flew around the Nansei Islands in the East China Sea and over Okinawa, where not-so-coincidentally, the United States has a military installation. It should be noted, however, that the U.S. has recently agreed to remove 9,000 of its troops from the island.
While Russia has staked claim to a set of islands in the northern part of Japan - The Kuril Islands - China, is more interested in the southwestern area that is near Japan.
According to a news report from the China Daily, armed forces officially vowed to "'fulfill their duty' to safeguard China's territory in the South China Sea".
That either means it will protect its interests in the area from invaders, or it will consider taking over islands in the area as a way to better protect those islands from other more evil invaders... but that's just a guess by Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife.
Unfortunately, it's one the US seems to think is a possibility, as it watches China's growing military might in the South China Sea.
Expect to see more U.S. troops in an around the Philippines in the next little while.
It might make you wonder why Japan has agreed to the U.S. moving troops away from Okinawa when it seems obvious that the area needs more protection... this blog is just supposing, of course, but not only is it better if these troops move closer to other possible hotspots, it removes the possibility (initially) of Japan being as much of a hotspot in the eyes of China.
Still, I have faith that we're beyond the petty expansionism of the early 20th century and before. I think China is, like the U.S., interested in flexing its muscles every now and then.
Files compiled by Andrew Joseph