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Defense minister puzzled by abnormal number of flights by Russian military aircraft

44 Comments

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Sunday there have been an "abnormal" number of flights by Russian military aircraft close to Japanese islands in recent days.

The country's Air Self-Defense Force scrambled fighter jets for seven days in a row through Saturday after spotting Russian military planes flying along the Japanese archipelago, according to the defense ministry.

On Friday, six Russian TU-95 bombers were seen flying two by two, with one pair moving around the Okinawan islands and then going north along Japan's Pacific coast.

The two other pairs flew over the Sea of Japan (East Sea). None of the flights intruded into Japanese airspace.

"They are continuing flights, which we deem as abnormal and were unseen even in the Cold War era," Onodera told reporters after attending a ceremony in Okinawa to inaugurate an airborne early warning squadron.

The minister, according to footage on public broadcaster NHK, added that Russia's intentions were unclear and Japanese defense officials based in Russia have been trying to check them.

"We are closely monitoring the situation," Onodera said.

© (c) 2014 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

44 Comments
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I can say hello in Russian for when they arrive !

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Japan sided with the US on the Ukraine issue which alienated Russia. Russia and China are being driven right into each others arms.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

It would seem that the Japan-Russia dispute won't be resolved anytime soon either.

Sadly this reminds me of the situation before WW2. Lots of regionsl powers with conflicting interests (in this case disputes between Japan, Taiwan, Korea, China, Russia and an absent USA).

It would only take one crazed nationalistic fanatic to ignite the fuel, initiating WW3 and then all the hard won prosperity of the people of Asia would be over.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

So how is the world enjoying the US staying out of things for awhile?

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

ironmonkeyzApr. 21, 2014 - 08:32AM JST So how is the world enjoying the US staying out of things for awhile?

Just fine thanks, although if Russia is siding with China then it is quite probably the US's fault given the amazingly bad way they handled the Ukraine situation, do the U.S. isn't really staying out of things at all.

I like the calmer, "puzzled" tone of this response by Japan, rather than the usual U.S. panic and bluster.

David ElsonApr. 21, 2014 - 07:25AM JST It would only take one crazed nationalistic fanatic to ignite the fuel, initiating WW3 and then all the hard won prosperity of the people of Asia would be over.

You do realise that WW3 won't just hurt Asia, but will almost certainly involve the nuking of the U.S. as a priority, don't you? The U.S. has simply made too many enemies around the world, almost all of them nuclear powers like China and Russia, for it come out of WW3 un-nuked. Don't pretend this is an Asian problem and that it'll all neatly resolve itself in the Asian bubble...

1 ( +7 / -6 )

So how is the world enjoying the US staying out of things for awhile?

Might be time for Japan to step up, abandon it's ultranationalist views and become the adult in the room. Now that the US has abdicated it's throne.

Obviously this means keeping the Abe-super high levels of defense spending but it also means showing a willingness to compromise on key territorial issues. Speak softly and carry a big stick in fact.

If not a willingness to compromose on claims, why not admin it but agree to develop in conjunction with other regional powers. The situation as it cobtinues is untenable with more than just Japanese pride on the line.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Putin is playing with fire, the nationalism is pulling Russia in to clash against international order, if a IIIWW will blow, we can know who is the responsible.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This is the same as the Russian announcement to increase military presence in the Northern Territories.

Its to put pressure on Japan to remove sanctions and bring Japan back to dialogue (since without Japanese aid, Putin's own pivot to Asia is greatly hampered).

Though, not sure why he's provoking Japan. Maybe this was for the benefit of the US?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Putin is a fool who was born too late. His egocentric moves, if left unchecked will destablize world peace. He and his kind must be stopped.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

ironmonkeyz

Huh? America is staying out of things? How many troops do we have in Korea and Japan and Europe? Aren't we still in Afghanistan and haven't we been pummeling Pakistan and Yemen with drones? Are we supposed to do the same to Russia? Hitting Russia in the pocket book is a far better weapon. Their Economy is on the edge. Unfortunately this takes time. Patience is needed. Obviously, sanctions have worked in Iran. They are desperate for an agreement. How many troops were lost deploying these sanctions? 0.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Russian's moves aren't really making sense since they want Japan to participate in developing Siberia natural resources. Pressuring Japan through military provications is not exactly the smartest move to negotiate for cooperation.

11 ( +9 / -0 )

Defense minister puzzled...

Did anyone try asking?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If Putin not stop to help the prorussian rebels, this toy can explone in hand and nationalism can get Russia to disaster. History teachs how nationalisms provoke wars and manh wars are lost.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@ David Elson - "... keeping the Abe-super high levels of defense spending..." I'm not disagreeing with your post but wonder to what you comparing Japan's defense spending to arrive at the "super-high" adjective!?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

They are not flying in Japan's airspace so what business is it for Japan to know what they are doing? And hey, if you are really uptight about it why not pick up the phone and ask them what's going on?

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

David ElsonApr. 21, 2014 - 09:03AM JST

Might be time for Japan to step up, abandon it's ultranationalist views and become the adult in the room. Now that the US has abdicated it's throne.

I do not understand your logic. If Japan is to step up, it would abandon Article 9, spend more on military, and be more nationalistic, wouldn't it? By the way, I am against more military spending by Japan.

Obviously this means keeping the Abe-super high levels of defense spending but it also means showing a willingness to compromise on key territorial issues.

It is China that is refusing any talk with Japan. Japan has repeatedly said that the door to talk is always open and settlement through ICJ is welcome. China on the other side said that Senkaus are "core interest" of China and that there is no room for compromise.

I am more interested in why you get that idea. Probably Japan is losing the propaganda war against China.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

what Japan will do is out of question. the point is what Obama will do in this case ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

if you really uptight about it, why not pick up the phone and ask them what's going on?

Then would be no reasons to write this mysterious article.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Some from here and abroad might also wondering about the abnormal number of right wing nutjob visits going on at Yasukuni recently.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Hmm, a strange move by Putin. A part of me thinks that this is related to Russia's intentions to increase its military presence on the Kuriles, but they wouldn't need to fly bombers close to Japan for that. This looks more like a display of power, a flexing of the muscles. When Putin first came to power, he sent bombers on a direct heading to Britain, flexing his muscles then. It would seem that the sanctions imposed upon Russia are beginning to work then. Russia is resorting to intimidation, hoping that the threat of violence will be enough to see the sanctions lifted. A bold gambit. It would take brass ones to hold the sanctions after such an action, considering that holding the course could lead to an armed conflict. Ultimately though, that would hurt Russia more. The more your struggle, the more you hurt yourself. Russia needs to calm down and stop being aggressive. Only then will the sanctions be lifted. If things turn violent, Russia and the US will end up destroying each other, and half of Europe and Asia will take substantial collateral damage. There will be no winners, only losers. But it just isn't worth it though, so I don't think it'll come to that.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Russia needs to calm down and stop being aggressive.

Russians have been supporting standard patrol routs of their strategic bombers, a part of Nuclear Triad, since 2007. These flights take place over international waters. As for "being aggressive", could you elaborate ? Did Russia impose sanctions to any countries of the world ?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

If the guy is honestly puzzled he needs to be sacked from his position as Defense Minister. Russia is obviously playing on Japan's fears of island takeovers after Japan sided with the US and imposed sanctions, and even recently cancelled a visit to Russia due to what's going on in the Ukraine.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

The bully Putin flexes his muscle to Japan & U.S. alliance regarding the Northern territory. It means only Russia can pulled the Crimea 's scenario, and dare Japan not to play same Crimea's game on occupied islands. Or, maybe Russian pilots could not find enough Russians in Okinawa! Whatever, Russia is behaving badly.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Did Russia impose sanctions to any countries of the world ?

No, but it did send soldiers into Crimea illegally to effectivey annex the region before it had even decided to vote on whether or not to secede from Ukraine. That's pretty aggressive, as is flying bombers towards other countries. Sanctions are a defensive measure, used to damage the economy, not to inflict harm or to threaten violence.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Russian planes do this over Europe too, they've done so for many years. The reason for this behavior is to:

Make a country scramble their jets to record their response time. Record the type of equipment that a country scrambles as a response. Record frequencies that are sent out when defense and radar systems go into high alert. (for analysis)

When they do this sort of thing, they are recording, mapping and analyzing a nation's defense capabilities.

That unarmed Russian jet that flew closely by that American warship in the black sea a while ago? Probably the same thing. Not far behind the US warship was a Russian warship that was quite likely analyzing whatever the American warship was emitting and doing in response to spotting a Russian fighter jet.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

natsukii

Yeah they been doing that against Japan for the past 50 years but not make a long tour around the entire Japanese coast line with a long range strategic bomber.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

5 billion in US aid to Ukraine over the last ten years.

Nuland is "on tape" discussing who's going to be the new Ukrainian President after the US supported the Kiev coup. All of this happened before Putin went into the Crimea. As a leader, Putin could see that the US/EU/NATO is trying to chip away at Russia's neighbors, tightening the noose around Russia. Putin's securing the Black Sea port was a logical strategic move, AFTER THE FACT!

It's really unbelievable, after Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc. How does the US not get blamed for this Ukrainian shit. It's very obvious! But still, somehow it's all Russia's fault.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

That's pretty aggressive, as is flying bombers towards other countries.

The article says bombers were flying over international waters, not "towards other countries". As for Crimea, people voted for joining Russian side despite existance of "illegal soldiers" there.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

What does Japan expect when she is expanding her military posts further and further out all the time and claiming disputed islands it is better to look after what you actually control then expand where you are not wanted in disputed arrears .It was bad enough upsetting China now Russia will be watching Japan very closely. For intrusions in its areas as well.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ron BarnesApr. 21, 2014 - 02:43PM JST

What does Japan expect when she is expanding her military posts further and further out all the time and claiming disputed islands

Which country do you mean by "she"? She must be China, for her move in South China Sea, right? Japan did not expand military post "all the time".

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It would seem that the Japan-Russia dispute won't be resolved anytime soon either.

The truth is Japan's territorial disputes with its neighbors were all resolved by the 2 atomic bombs and the various WWII peace treaties/agreements established at the end of WWII.

For example, Article 2 (c) of the San Francisco Peace Treaty says "Japan renounces all right, title and claim to the Kurile Islands"

And Article 8 of the Potsdam Declaration (terms of surrender for Japan) says

"The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we (US, UK, China and Russia) determine."

However at the beginning of the Cold-war, the US government encouraged/instructed Japan to violate all WWII peace treaties drafted by the US government itself and to reclaim territories it lost to the Allied. (especially China and Soviet Union)

The main purpose of this instruction from the US government was however not to sabotage the sovereignty of China and Russia but rather to keep Japan totally isolated by its neighbors so that the US could keep Japan as its protectorate/puppet/cash withdrawal machine for as long as possible.

It is China that is refusing any talk with Japan. Japan has repeatedly said that the door to talk is always open and settlement through ICJ is welcome.

According to the Potsdam Declaration (Ultimatum to Japan), "Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we (US, UK, China and Russia) determine". And the price for defying the Potsdam Declaration is "prompt and utter destruction" as pronounced in the Ultimatum.

And according to the Japanese Instrument of Surrender and many other official documents, the Japanese government did accept the Potsdam Declaration (terms of surrender for Japan).

So it becomes real that Japan's territorial disputes with China and Russia created by the US at the beginning of the Cold-war will only be resolved once China and Russia show their resolve and ability to execute the Ultimatum (Potsdam Declaration) to Japan.

And from what I know, the defense minister of China has shown the resolve of the Chinese to crush Japan if a war breaks out and to execute the Potsdam Declaration (Ultimatum to Japan) that China co-drafted with the US to the US Secretary of Defense, Hagel during his recent visit to China.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Its Obama dilemma,hold sanctions to get Putin more nervous and wait him errors or leave sanctions to risks new international and more dangerous international crisis by stronger Russia like leader of countries that want solve with militzry might ? Obama will be Cgamberlain or Roosevelt of IIIWW?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

For the Defense Minister, who is apparently clueless, the purpose of the flights is to probe defenses and gather intelligence.

In the case of the Defense Minister, however, the surveillance found none.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yuki NomoseAPR. 21, 2014 - 09:34AM JST If Putin not stop to help the prorussian rebels, this toy can explone in hand and nationalism can get Russia to disaster. History teachs how nationalisms provoke wars and manh wars are lost.

Thank you for a good remark - so about Russian and pro Russian

In Russia live more than 180 nations

All of them have EQUAL rights

and it always was so ( unlike British Empire or US)

So nationalism is not possible in Russia

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Guru29Apr. 21, 2014 - 04:54PM JST

Potsdam Declaration

(8) The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine.

Cairo Declaration

The Three Great Allies are fighting this war to restrain and punish the aggression of Japan. They covet no gain for themselves and have no thought of territorial expansion.

So, the Allies have no right to expand territory. Therefore, Senkakus and Chishima belong to Japan, for they have never been territory of China or Soviet Union, and giving them to China or Soviet Union would be territorial expansion. Technically, Soviet Union may expand territory for it was not one of the Three Great Allies quoted in Cairo. China utterly has no right to expand territory.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Fox Cloud Lelean Hmm, a strange move by Putin. A part of me thinks that this is related to Russia's intentions to increase its military presence on the Kuriles, but they wouldn't need to fly bombers close to Japan for that.

Why not ??

35 000 US soldiers are located in Japan

Japan is US closest ally

Japan has territorial claims toward Russia

.

It would seem that the sanctions imposed upon Russia are beginning to work then. Russia is resorting to intimidation, hoping that the threat of violence will be enough to see the sanctions lifted. A bold gambit.

Surprise - Japan is NOT so important for Russian trade (like USA)

Russian main economical partners are EU&China

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Must be all that fuel not going to Europe after the Crimea brouhaha.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

SamuraiBlue Russian's moves aren't really making sense since they want Japan to participate in developing Siberia natural resources.

Life is not fair : Not only Japan but S Korea and even small China want to participate in developing Siberia

What is more - Russia today have a lot of money and can do it without foreign help...

Life is not fair .... I know

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Thank you for a good remark - so about Russian and pro Russian

In Russia live more than 180 nations

All of them have EQUAL rights

and it always was so ( unlike British Empire or US)

So nationalism is not possible in Russia

Russia is tryng to bully Ukraine not for russians in Ukraine but to bully US and weak them like leader of countries that are defending own rights and claims in other disputed areas. The Crimean Crisis is a test for Senkaku islands for China.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Yuki Nomose Russia is tryng to bully Ukraine not for russians in Ukraine

Millions of Russian living in Ukraine Putsh members look at them as a second sort people " not really Ukrainians" So Russia must protect them

but to bully US and weak them like leader of countries that are defending own rights and claims in other disputed areas. The Crimean Crisis is a test for Senkaku islands for China

1 For Russian Crimean Peninsula VERY important itself

Naval base & air base

2 Putin does not think about about Senkaku when he act in Crimea

He is wise man but not so wise ...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

CH3CHO She is Japan as stated . History is repeating its self under this present Abe government pushing a little here and their all the time. The territories being disputed will stay that way for all times unless they are made into a complete new country. Which will never be agreed upon by the various parties .

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ Frungy

You do realise that WW3 won't just hurt Asia, but will almost certainly involve the nuking of the U.S. as a priority, don't you? The U.S. has simply made too many enemies around the world, almost all of them nuclear powers like China and Russia, for it come out of WW3 un-nuked. Don't pretend this is an Asian problem and that it'll all neatly resolve itself in the Asian bubble... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Russia and China has Nukes. No big deal!! So does the US, if anything happens call it end game for all because we will glow!!! No no one wins!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yuki Nomose Russia is tryng to bully Ukraine not for russians in Ukraine

Millions of Russian living in Ukraine Putsh members look at them as a second sort people " not really Ukrainians" So Russia must protect them

but to bully US and weak them like leader of countries that are defending own rights and claims in other disputed areas. The Crimean Crisis is a test for Senkaku islands for China

1 For Russian Crimean Peninsula VERY important itself

Naval base & air base

2 Putin does not think about about Senkaku when he act in Crimea

He is wise man but not so wise ...

"ptotect russians in Ukraine is a pretest like german in sudets and poland, the History is repeating again, yesterday Hitler, today Putin...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

These flights are not directed at Japan, their focus is against China.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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