Japan scrambling warplanes as often as Cold War era amid growing activity by China, Russia

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Japan's government says the number of scrambles by the country's warplanes has surged in recent years to levels nearly matching the Cold War era amid growing activity by China and Russia in the region.

The Defense Ministry said Wednesday that the Self Air-Defense Force scrambled its jets 943 times during a 12-month period through March 31, just one short of the record set in 1984. The scrambles were dominated by those against Chinese and Russian aircraft.

The ministry reported 133 more scrambles than the previous year, underscoring growing tension in the region.

Scrambled Chinese aircraft were mainly fighter jets approaching the disputed East China Sea islands, a main cause of a diplomatic dispute between the two countries.

The ministry said none violated Japanese airspace.