TOKYO: ballistic missiles fired by China would have landed in Japanfor the first time in Tokyo’s exclusive economic zone, Tokyo’s defense minister said Thursday.
“Five of the nine ballistic missiles launched by China are said to have landed in the Japanese EEZ”, Nobuo Kishi told reporters, as China holds massive military drills in the waters around Taiwan.
Japan “filed a protest with China through diplomatic channels”, Kishi said, calling the issue a “serious issue that affects our national security and the safety of our citizens.”
China is holding its biggest-ever military exercises around Taiwan, which it considers its territory and has vowed to seize one day, by force if necessary.
The show of military might was sparked by the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the self-governing island, despite stern warnings from Beijing.
Parts of Japan’s southernmost island region, Okinawa, are close to Taiwan. Kishi said it was the first time Chinese ballistic missiles had landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The EEZ extends up to 200 nautical miles from the Japanese coast, beyond the limits of its territorial waters.
The figure of nine missiles fired was an assessment by the Japanese side, Kishi said, adding that all five appeared to have landed southwest of Okinawa’s Hateruma Island.
The drills began on Thursday and involved a “conventional missile firepower assault” in waters east of Taiwan, the Chinese military said.
Japan had expressed concern to China on Wednesday over the drills, saying they had to take place in sea areas that overlap its EEZ.
The nine missiles would have fallen in areas designated by China for military exercises, Kishi said.
The minister declined to comment on China’s intentions regarding the drills, but nonetheless called them “extremely threatening”.

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