Japan again rejected on Monday China's accusation that Self-Defense Forces aircraft interfered with joint naval drills being held by China and Russia. SDF units regularly carry out early-warning and surveillance activities in line with international law, the government said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera to ensure that such activities continue and to lodge a protest with China through diplomatic channels, two days after Chinese aircraft intercepted Japanese surveillance planes and flew within a wingspan of them in the East China Sea.

One of the two Chinese SU-27 fighter jets flew roughly 50 meters from the SDF's OP-3C surveillance plane, while the other came as close as 30 meters to a YS-11EB electronic intelligence aircraft in the East China Sea, where the two countries' air defense identification zones overlap and where several disputed islands are situated.