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Japan scrambles fighters against Russian patrol plane

JIJI

The Air Self-Defense Force scrambled fighter jets Friday after a Russian patrol plane flew over the Sea of Japan, the Defense Ministry said.

There was no violation of Japanese airspace by the IL-20 patrol plane, it said.

The incident came ahead of a meeting between Japanese and Russian defense ministers in Tokyo on Friday afternoon. On Saturday, the two countries will hold the first-ever meeting of their foreign and defense ministers to discuss the promotion of bilateral defense cooperation.

“There was no problem as the plane flew over the high seas,” said Masayoshi Tatsumi, a Defense Ministry spokesman, adding that the ministry will continue to make all-out efforts in warning and surveillance activities.

According to the ministry’s Joint Staff Office, the Russian plane flew southwest over the Sea of Japan near the Oki Islands in Shimane Prefecture.

The plane turned back at a point near the island of Tsushima and flew home by the same route.