Japan scrambled military jets Sunday to counter three Chinese military planes that flew near Japanese airspace, defence officials said.
One Y-8 information gathering plane and two H-6 bombers flew over the East China Sea, travelling in international airspace between southern Japanese islands and went to the Pacific Ocean before returning towards China on the same route Sunday morning, according to a spokesman at the Joint Staff of the Ministry of Defence.
"They flow above public seas, and there was no violation of our airspace," he said, declining to release more details about the incident.
Japan and China are locked in a bitter territorial row over islands in the East China Sea administered by Japan as the Senkaku Islands, but which China calls the Diaoyu Islands.
Chinese government ships and planes have been seen off the disputed islands numerous times since Japan nationalised them in September 2012, sometimes within the 12 nautical-mile territorial zone.