Japanese SDF fighter jets conduct first landing drills in commercial airports

Japan's Air Self-Defense Force has held landing and takeoff drills for the first time at commercial airports under the scenario that its bases become unusable in an enemy attack.

The drills were part of large-scale exercises the SDF has been conducting since Friday, held every two years to simulate the defense of Japan.

Four F-2 fighters belonging to the Tsuiki Air Base in Fukuoka Prefecture landed at Oita Airport one after another at around 1 p.m. on Monday.

The fighters moved to the apron and replenished with the same fuel as passenger aircraft from a commercial tanker truck before taking off about two hours later.

A similar drill was held at Tokunoshima Airport on a remote island in Kagoshima Prefecture. Four F-15 fighter jets conducted touch-and-go landings.

The drills reflected Japan's new policy presented in the National Security Strategy and other key documents approved last year that call for utilizing airports and seaports to respond to contingencies.

The drills will also be held at Okayama Airport in Okayama Prefecture and Amami Airport in Kagoshima Prefecture this week.