Taiwan's civilian flights intercepted by Japanese military

Taiwan's civilian flights intercepted by Japanese military
Songshan airport

TAIPEI, Taiwan- Taiwan's civilian flights are occasionally intercepted by Japanese military aircraft within the two nations' overlapping air defence identification zones (ADIZ) in the East China Sea, Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA, 民航局) Director-General Jean Shen (沈啟) said yesterday.

Fielding questions during a legislative session, Shen told lawmakers that Taiwan and Japan's air defence zones narrowly overlap (between 123 and 124 degrees east longitude) in the East China Sea.

Since 2009, Japanese aviation authorities have demanded that Taiwanese airliners submit their flight plans to Japan when traveling through the overlapping air zone, Shen said.

However, despite having already identified themselves to Japanese authorities, some of these passengers planes are still intercepted by Japanese fighters in the overlapping zone, the CAA head said.

Shen said that moves made by the Japanese military have caused grave concern within the CAA because such harassment is extremely dangerous to the safe flights of passenger aircraft.

According to the CAA, such incidents occurred at least twice in 2002 and 2009.

In both occasions, Japanese fighter jets used an emergency frequency to demand that Taiwanese civilian aircraft that passed through the air zone change their course, the CAA said.

Shen made the comments during a question-and-answer session at the Legislature's Foreign Affairs and National Defence Committee yesterday.

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