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Japan says previous aerial objects may be Chinese spy balloons

A new analysis of unidentified flying objects that have flown over Japanese airspace in recent years suggests “strongly” that they were Chinese spy balloons, according to the Tokyo Defense Ministry.

“After further analysis of previously identified balloon-shaped flying objects in Japanese airspace, including those in November 2019, June 2020, and September 2021, we conclude that they are strongly presumed to be unmanned reconnaissance balloons piloted by China,” a statement from Japan’s Ministry of Defense said.

Read more on the subject: China asks U.S. to investigate balloons that flew over airspace

The body added that it “strongly demanded that the Chinese government confirm the facts” and “that such a situation should not happen again in the future.”

“Airspace violations by unmanned reconnaissance balloons and other means are totally unacceptable,” it added.

“Japan makes unfounded accusations and defames China without conclusive evidence,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin.

Japanese media reported Wednesday that the government is examining the possibility of relaxing rules for shooting down objects that violate the country’s airspace.

Also read: Biden warns US will act on China after balloon downing

Currently, the law allows the use of weapons only in case of clear and imminent danger, Kyodo news agency reported.

“I think this case provokes concern that there may be a big gap in Japan’s defense,” Itsunori Onodera, secretary for security policy of the ruling party and former defense minister, said.

Japan said last week that it would re-examine a series of incidents involving unidentified aerial objects after a suspected Chinese spy balloon was shot down by the United States after entering its territory.

After the incident, the U.S. military adjusted its radars to detect smaller objects and discovered three other unidentified devices, which were also shot down.

This post is also available in: Português

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