TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada on Friday criticized an apparent drone flight linked to a Chinese government vessel that entered Japanese waters around the disputed islands in the East China Sea the previous day, describing it as "a violation of sovereignty."
"A drone flight from a Chinese government ship that entered our territorial waters is totally unacceptable as we think it will lead to the escalation of the situation. The case is a serious violation of our national sovereignty," Inada said at a news conference.
The Air-Self Defense Force scrambled two F-15 fighter jets in response to the deployment of the drone around the Japanese-controlled islands, claimed by China. A Defense Ministry official said it is the first time that jets have been scrambled in response to a drone.
Tensions are high in the East China Sea due to a territorial dispute over the Senkaku islets, which China call Diaoyu. Chinese vessels have frequently entered Japanese territorial waters around the Senkakus, but this is the first time that what appeared to be a drone was spotted.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a separate press conference that the drone flight is "a new type of action by China."
Read the full story at The Mainichi