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China may have flown drone over Japan seas

Jiji Press NAHA (Jiji Press) — A drone-like object was spotted flying above one of the four Chinese ships that entered Japanese waters near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture on Thursday, according to the Japan Coast Guard.

Until Thursday, no such object had been seen in the waters.

According to the Japan Coast Guard’s 11th regional headquarters in Naha, the drone-like object flew above the Chinese coast guard’s Haijing 2308 for about four minutes around 10:50 a.m.

The Japan Coast Guard is trying to identify the type of the drone and the intention behind the flight.

According to the regional headquarters, the Haijing 2166, Haijing 2305, Haijing 2308 and Haijing 33115 entered Japanese waters at a point north-northwest of Uotsurijima, the largest of the Japanese-administrated islands in the East China Sea, between around 10:10 a.m. and 10:25 a.m.

The four ships left the waters at a point southwest of Uotsurijima between 11:45 a.m. and noon. It was the first such intrusion into Japanese waters by Chinese government ships since May 8, and the 13th this year.

The islands are claimed by China, where they are known as Diaoyu.

Lodging a protest by phone, Kenji Kanasugi, director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, told Liu Shaobin, minister at the Chinese embassy in Tokyo, that Japan cannot tolerate the activity that is feared to worsen the situation.

4 ASDF aircraft scrambled

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Four Japanese Air Self-Defense Force aircraft, including two F-15 fighters, scrambled on Thursday against what appeared to be a small drone flown from a Chinese coast guard ship in Japan’s territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said Friday.

The Chinese activity represented “a serious infringement of Japan’s sovereignty,” Inada told a press conference.

Thursday’s scrambles were the first by the Self-Defense Forces against a drone, according to Defense Ministry officials.

China’s action “escalates the situation and is totally unacceptable,” she said at the press conference.

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