Sources close to the government said that the Defense Ministry‘s plan to revise the rules of engagement when it comes to foreign drones that are intruding into Japanese airspace has gotten the initial approval from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. This is in response to the Chinese militarydrone that flew in Japan’s air defense identification zone last month, near the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera briefed Abe on the plan last October 11, according to the source, and the prime minister gave his approval to shoot down foreign drones that do not respond to warnings given to them. However, deliberations are still ongoing on how to deal with those that will be carrying weapons of mass destruction like nuclear or biological weapons since it will seriously affect the general public. Currently, Japan does not have any clear rules for surveillance drones that cannot detect warnings, but after studying the ones that are being developed by the Chinese government, they have determined that these drones have high-tech cameras and radar and so should be able to detect and respond to warnings.
The new protocol, if formally approved, will enable Air Self-Defense Force fighters to shoot down a plane for “necessary measures” if it continues to trespass into Japanese airspace in spite of the warnings. The plan will demonstrate the country’s readiness to respond to any threats to its sovereignty and the safety of the public.