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TOKYO, September 9 (Itar-Tass) - The Japanese government intends through diplomatic channels to express to Moscow its “concern” over the Thursday flight of two Russian strategic bombers over the perimeter of the main Japanese territory, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said at a press conference in Tokyo on Friday.
“We will deal with the matter appropriately based on Russia’s response,” Fujimura said a day after the bombers flew around Japan in a circle. Fujimura said it is not the first time Russian aircraft have flown around Japan, but noted that the incident was unusual because the bombers flew over a long distance and were refuelled by other planes, the Kyodo news agency reported.
Japan’s Air Self-Defence Force fighters were scrambling on Thursday due to concern that the Russian planes may have violated Japanese airspace. The ministry found out later that there was no such violation, it said. The Russian Defence Ministry has acknowledged that the bombers flew over the Pacific Ocean but they did not violate foreign airspace.
According to Tokyo press reports, on Tuesday two Russian strategic bombers Tu-95MS for about 19 hours were flying over the perimeter of the mainland of Japan from the southern island of Kyushu to northern Hokkaido, flying over international waters. Ten 10 fighter jets the Air Force of South Korea and Japan were watching this patrolling.
On Thursday, the Japanese government also requested explanations from Moscow in connection with reports about the Russian Air Force intentions to conduct air force exercises in the Sea of Okhotsk near Japan’s control zone. According to the Tokyo press, Russia earlier notified the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) that it closes for flights of civil aircraft a vast area in the Sea of Okhotsk from September 7 until the end of this week because of the exercise. This area is said to be close to Japanese airspace off the north-eastern coast of the Hokkaido Island on the line from the port of Wakkanai to the Shiretoko Peninsula