Sighting unidentified drone, Japan sends airforce to disputed island

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Japan scrambled fighter jets on Monday after an unidentified drone flew near Tokyo-controlled islands at the centre of a bitter dispute with China, a defence ministry spokesman said.It was the first reported incident of its kind.Japan’s Air Self-Defence Force sent an unspecified number of jets to the area. The drones did not enter Japanese airspace.A second Japanese defence ministry official said the nationality of the drone was not clear, but added that it came from the northwest and and was last seen flying back in that direction.

China has drones but when asked about the incident, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said: “I am not aware of the situation.”

On Sunday, Japan scrambled fighter jets against two Chinese bombers that flew from the East China Sea into the Pacific, through a gap between islands in the Okinawa chain, the defence ministry said.

And two weeks ago, fighters were dispatched to head off a Chinese government plane flying towards the Senkaku islands, which Beijing calls the Diaoyus and claims as its own.

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