A report released on November 27, 2013 said that Japan is thinking of expanding its air defense identification zone in the Pacific Ocean. The decision to expand its air zone came as Beijing and Tokyo continue to create controversy over the claims of China to control airspace above the East China Sea.

Air zone

There are also reports that the defense ministry is looking to station fighter jets at various bases in the area. The latest report came after China announced de facto control over airspace above islands managed by Tokyo in the middle of a long-running dispute between the second and third-largest economies in the world.

The announcement also came after Beijing launched its first aircraft carrier. A spokesperson for the defense ministry said that the government is “determined to protect Japan’s territory… but… we are not in a situation that requires expansion of Japan’s ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone).”

The ADIZ of Japan – which was established in 1969 – surrounds its four main islands, as well as the southernmost Okinawan island chain, which includes the islets disputed with China. Flight plans are required by China when airplanes fly through the zone only if they are heading for the Japanese territory.

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