Tokyo Accuses China of Flying Spy Balloons Over Japan in 2019-21

Japan Suspects Chinese Spy Balloons Over its Territory

  1. Japanese Government’s Announcement
    • The Japanese government announced today that three unidentified flying objects observed in its territory between 2019 and 2021 were suspected to be Chinese spy balloons.
    • This is the first time Japan has made such an announcement, following a similar incident where the United States shot down a Chinese spy balloon in its airspace earlier this month.
  2. Locations and Timing of the Incidents
    • The suspected spy balloon sightings occurred in Kagoshima in November 2019, Miyagi in June 2020, and Aomori in September 2021.
    • Japan has expressed to China that it will not tolerate any violation of its airspace.
  3. Increased Vigilance and Surveillance
    • Japan has vowed to intensify intelligence gathering and surveillance operations against spy balloons, including those not directly involved in foreign espionage.
    • The government is committed to enhancing its efforts to identify and counter potential threats from such balloons.
  4. Lack of Explanation for Suspicions
    • The Japanese government did not provide specific details on why it believes the flying objects originated from China.
    • The announcement coincides with a re-examination of a previous incident where the United States shot down a Chinese spy balloon on February 4.
  5. Military Response
    • Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada stated that the Self-Defense Forces would be authorized to use weapons, including air-to-air missiles, to respond to aerial threats.
    • This decision comes in the wake of increased military activity, including the US military shooting down four missiles over North American skies.

Japan’s response underscores the growing concern over potential threats posed by spy balloons and other aerial activities in its airspace. The government’s commitment to enhancing surveillance and military readiness reflects its determination to protect its territorial integrity.

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