In response to an intrusion by a Chinese submarine in November, Tokyo has drawn up guidelines to immediately launch a special maritime operation if a foreign sub is detected intruding in Japan’s territorial waters, the government said Wednesday.

In the Nov. 10 incident, it took three hours for the government to initiate its Maritime Security Operation, which is handled by the Maritime Self-Defense Force when the Japan Coast Guard is considered to be unable to handle the situation.

In that incident, an MSDF patrol plane detected the submerged sub near Okinawa.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda told a news conference that an order for the operation would be immediately issued without any political or diplomatic considerations.

He said the government would “swiftly” inform the public when a Maritime Security Operation has been launched.

The government revealed the operation more than two hours after the order was issued, drawing protests from the media.

“We hadn’t handled a (submarine intrusion) like this before, so there was a delay,” Hosoda said.

Under international law, a submarine must surface and hoist a national flag when navigating in another country’s waters.

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