Japanese Jets Scramble to Cold-War Levels as Chinese and Russian Incursions are on the Rise

Japan's air force said on Wednesday jet fighter scrambles have reached a level not seen since the height of the Cold War three decades ago as Russian bombers probe its northern skies and Chinese combat aircraft intrude into its southern air space.
The country's Self Defense Force said that so far this year Japanese fighters have scrambled 944 times, 16 percent more than the same period the previous year.
That is the second highest number of encounters ever recorded over the 12-month period since records began in 1958 and only one less than a record 944 scrambles in 1984.
While coping with the growing military might of a more assertive China which is increasing defense outlays by more than 10 percent a year, Japan is also contending with a military resurgence of a Cold War foe that has gathered pace since Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula from the Ukraine last year.
A non-fiscal boost to military capability will also come from plans by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to loosen constitutional constraints on his nation's defense forces that will allow them to operate more freely overseas and to deepen cooperation with U.S. forces.



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