Japan has told China and Russia it has “serious concerns” about their frequent joint air force activities on Japanese soil, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Thursday.
“We will closely monitor the growing cooperation between the two countries with concern,” Matsuno told a regular news conference, adding that Japan would “resolutely protect” its territories.
The Russian Defense Ministry said Russian aircraft, including the Tu-95MS long-range nuclear-armed strategic bomber, conducted “surveillance flights” with Chinese H-6 bombers over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea.
China’s Ministry of Defense also said its planes had conducted flights with Russian jets.
Japan’s Defense Ministry said its Air Self-Defense Force scrambled fighter jets in response.
The ministry said two Chinese H-6 bombers flew through the Tsushima Strait in southwestern Japan from the East China Sea to the Sea of Japan in the morning before heading north and passing west of the Takeshima islets.
At almost the same time, the two suspected Russian planes, which had been flying south over the waters north of Takeshima, reversed course and headed north, according to the ministry.
The four planes did not enter Japan’s territorial airspace, the ministry added.
On May 24, China and Russia flew six strategic bombers over waters near Japan, according to the ministry, in what Japan’s defense minister said at the time was a protest against the “Quad” summit held the same day in Tokyo that included Japan, United States, Australia and India.