TOKYO — Two Japanese jet fighters scrambled into the air and one of them fired several warning shots today when a Soviet bomber violated Japanese airspace off Okinawa, the Defense Agency said.
It was the first time a Japanese plane had fired warning shots at Soviet aircraft since the Self-Defense Force began intercepting intruders or potential intruders 33 years ago, the agency said.
An agency official said one pilot fired several bursts from a multibarrel 20-millimeter cannon, with about 100 bullets in each burst.
The bullets could have shot down the plane if they had hit it, the official said.
He said the two F-4EJ jet fighters scrambled from a base in Naha, Okinawa, after radar showed an unidentified plane flying into Japanese airspace.
The official said the Japanese fighters first gave warnings by radio and, when these were ignored, one fired warning bursts as the plane entered Japanese airspace.
But he said the plane stayed inside Japanese airspace until several more warning bursts were fired.