Possible to Shoot Down Balloon Violating Japan Airspace: Defense Min.
Tokyo, Feb. 7 (Jiji Press)--It is possible under law for Japan's Self-Defense Forces aircraft to shoot down a foreign balloon flying into Japanese airspace, Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada suggested Tuesday.
"SDF aircraft on a mission to deal with airspace intrusions can use weapons," Hamada told a press conference. "We will do what is necessary to protect the lives and property of the Japanese public," he said.
Article 84 of the SDF law stipulates that when foreign aircraft intrude into Japanese airspace, the SDF will take measures necessary for having the aircraft land or leave the Japanese airspace.
Aircraft include balloons and drones, according to the Defense Ministry.
A U.S. fighter jet shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon in U.S. airspace off South Carolina on Saturday local time.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]