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Japanese Military Scrambles F-15 Jets After Chinese Planes Fly Near Okinawa

© AFP 2023 / Kazuhiro NOGIJapan's F-15 aircrafts
Japan's F-15 aircrafts - Sputnik International
Japan scrambled military jets after 11 Chinese military planes flew near Okinawa Island during a drill, a report said Saturday.

“Six of the Chinese aircrafts flew over open seas between the southern Japanese islands of Okinawa and Miyako, about 1,700 kilometers south-west of Tokyo, on Friday morning, Jiji Press cited Defense Ministry officials as saying,” DPA agency reported.

A slogan against the base is displayed on the fence enclosed U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Ginowan on southern Japanese islands of Okinawa. File photo - Sputnik International
Okinawa 'Will Never Accept a New US Base' as Protests Continue
A Chinese air force spokesman told media that several types of planes, including H-6K bombers, a TU-154 information-gathering plane and a Y-8 observation plane were involved in Friday's drill. The Chinese spokesman said that it was to improve their long-range combat abilities.

“It was the first such flight by Chinese military planes since July, and there was no incursion into Japanese airspace,” DPA agency reported.

Four other H-6 bombers and a Y-8 aircraft returned to China without flying between the Japanese islands.

Tensions rose on Okinawa Island just last week after the Japanese government decided to sue the Okinawan governor for stopping a US army base relocation project.

Earlier, Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, vehemently opposed the relocation of the Futenma US base and threatened to sue the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, according to the Kyodo news agency.

Though local people and politicians have repeatedly voiced their opposition to the relocation of the controversial US army base on Okinawa to another area of the island, the Japanese government continues to ignore them Shinsaku Nohira, spokesman for the Peace Boat NGO, told Radio Sputnik on Tuesday.

More than half of the 50,000 US troops stationed in Japan are based in Okinawa, and local people are opposed to their presence due to the high number of crimes committed by US military personnel living in the area.

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