Number of ASDF scrambles hits record high

Number of ASDF scrambles hits record high

Japanese Defense Ministry sources say Air Self-Defense Force jets have been scrambled a record number of times over the past 10 months.

Ministry officials say the number of scrambles topped 1,000 from last April through January, and the number is still rising. That's higher than the Cold War record of 944 in 1984. This fiscal year's figure has already exceeded that with 2 months remaining.

Scrambles against Chinese jets stood out, accounting for 73 percent of all cases from April to December. Scrambles against Russian jets came in a distant second, with 26 percent of the total.

The number of Chinese jets that have threatened Japanese skies at one time has also increased. More than 10 ASDF jets had to be scrambled in one incident.

The Japanese Defense Ministry says China's increased maritime assertiveness is behind the increase. The ministry has been analyzing why China acts the way it does and stepping up patrolling and monitoring.