Japan said two Russian fighter jets briefly entered Japan's airspace near disputed islands, prompting Japan to scramble combat fighter jets in response. Russia denied the charge.
Joint Staff Office of Defense Ministry of Japan / AP
Two Russian fighter jets briefly entered Japan's airspace near disputed islands and the northern island of Hokkaido on Thursday, prompting Japan to scramble combat fighters and lodge a protest, Japan's Foreign Ministry said.
Thursday was Japan's "Northern Territories Day," when rallies are traditionally held calling for the return of the disputed islands it calls the Northern Territories.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had told a rally he was determined to press ahead with negotiations with Russia for the return of the islands.