NAHA, Japan (Kyodo) -- Japan on Thursday lodged a protest with China after four China Coast Guard vessels entered Japanese waters around the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and an apparent drone was seeing flying above one of the vessels.
Japanese government sources said the Air-Self Defense Force scrambled an F-15 fighter jet in response to the deployment of a drone for the first time around the disputed islands also claimed by China.
Scrambling a jet against a small unmanned vehicle is another sign that Japan is on high alert over China's maritime assertiveness.
A high-ranking Japanese Foreign Ministry official lodged a protest with a senior diplomat at the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo, saying in a telephone call that the flying a drone over Japanese territory could escalate tensions near the Senkakus, a ministry official said.
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