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ASDF scrambles down in April-December 2020

On Jan. 22, the Ministry of Defense announced that Air Self-Defense Force fighter jets scrambled a total of 544 times from April through December last year in response to potential violations of Japan’s airspace. Compared with the same period two years ago, the number of scrambles decreased by 198, with scrambles against Chinese aircraft down by 192. 


ASDF scrambles against Chinese aircraft numbered 331, accounting for 60% of the 544 scrambles. Scrambles against Russian aircraft numbered 206, 10 fewer than two years ago. However, in December last year, a total of six Chinese and Russian bombers conducted a joint flight, flying for a long period and over a long distance from the East China Sea to the Pacific.


A Defense Ministry official who oversees ASDF scrambles said, “The number of scrambles decreased. However, the flight patterns have changed, and there has been no change in the trend toward the expansion and increasing activity of the Chinese military. 

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