• Kyodo News


The Air Self-Defense Force scrambled fighter jets to counter foreign aircraft 237 times in fiscal 2008, down 70 from the previous year, the Self-Defense Forces said Thursday.

The overall drop was credited to a decline in Russian airplanes to 193 from 253, and a drop in Chinese planes to 31 from 43, the SDF said, declining to elaborate on why those figures declined.

The ASDF scrambled planes around 230 times in fiscal 2005 and 2006 before leaping to 307 in 2007. SDF Chief of Staff Gen. Ryoichi Oriki said the latest figures reflect a return to average levels.

Of the remaining 13 planes, seven were from Taiwan, four from the United States, and two from South Korea, the SDF said, noting that none of these planes violated Japanese airspace.

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