Japan scrambles fighter jets after Chinese planes enter airspace over disputed East China Sea islands
Japan scrambled fighter jets after a Chinese government plane briefly entered airspace over disputed islands in the East China Sea, officials have said.
Government spokesman Osamu Fujimura said that Japan mobilised F-15 jet fighters after the Chinese Oceanic Administration plane was observed.
According to the BBC News, Japan 'immediately protested' to China against the move.
The islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, have been a long-standing source of tension.
The Chinese plane was spotted at around 11:00 local time (02:00 GMT), Fujimura said.
Japan's coast guard also reported that Chinese surveillance ships were seen in waters near the islands earlier in the day, the report said.
Japan controls the islands, which are also claimed by Taiwan. Close to strategically important shipping lanes, the waters around the islands also offer rich fishing grounds and are thought to contain oil deposits, the report added.
According to the report, the Japanese Government's acquisition of three of the islands from their private Japanese owner in September sparked both diplomatic and public protests in China.
Since then Chinese ships have been sailing in and out of waters around the islands, prompting warnings from Japan, the report added.