November 2, 2006:
In the last six months (April-September) Japanese air defense forces have had a twenty percent increase in problems with intruders, resulting in fighters being sent out to take a look 149 times. Last year, there were 125 instances where fighters had to be sent up to find out who was making an unauthorized intrusion into Japanese air space. Most of the time, it's a military aircraft from some neighboring country. What's really interesting is that Chinese incursions fell from thirty last year, to one during the same period this year. Meanwhile, incursions from Russia, already the majority, increased still more. Now, 93 percent of the incursions are from Russia. There are many reasons for this, including bad weather up there, poorly trained Russian pilots and continuing tensions over who owns what off the north coast of Japan, and exactly where the maritime borders are.