MOSCOW, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- A military spokesman said Thursday that two Russian fighter jets acted within international rules and didn't violate Japanese air space as Tokyo claims.
"All sorties are strictly controlled by the command and have been conducted under air traffic control in a strict accordance with the international rules, without violation of the other countries' borders," the Interfax news agency quoted Eastern Military District spokesman Alexander Gordeev as saying.
Gordeev said that Russian air forces have conducted flights over the Sea of Japan as part of large-scale exercises that started Tuesday.
Japan lodged a protest earlier Thursday after two SU-27 fighters were allegedly detected off the northern island of Hokkaido for just over a minute.
"Around 06:00 GMT today, military fighters belonging to Russian Federation breached our nation's airspace above territorial waters off Rishiri island in Hokkaido," the Japanese foreign ministry said.
It was the first time since 2008 that Tokyo has accused Russia of violating its airspace.
The alleged breach by the fighters immediately followed remarks made by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the day that Japan will promote talks with Russia to resolve bilateral territorial disputes.
Also on Thursday, Japan marks Northern Territories Day to reenforce its claims on four South Kurils islands Russia took over after World War II.
BEIJING, Oct. 16 (Xinhuanet) -- Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Morgulov and his Japanese counterpart Akitaka Saiki plan to meet on Friday. They will discuss their long-standing territorial dispute ahead of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s visit to Russia in December.Full story