Note: It’s more accurate to say “the drone war comes to East Asia” since it has been in Pakistan and Yemen for a while. Also, this isn’t about “drone war” as much as rising tensions between Japan and China, now involving drones. But still a useful article.
Disregarding the Japanese government’s intent, Beijing has reacted to the “nationalization” of the islands by flooding the surrounding waters and airspace with Chinese vessels to undermine Japan’s de facto administration, which has persisted since the reversion of Okinawa from American control in 1971. Chinese incursions have become so frequent that the Japanese Air Self-Defense Forces (JASDF) are now scrambling jet fighters on a near-daily basis in response.
In the midst of this heightened tension, you could be forgiven for overlooking the news early in September that Japanese F-15s had again taken flight after Beijing graciously commemorated the one-year anniversary of Tokyo’s purchase by sending an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) toward the islands. But this wasn’t just another day at the office in the contested East China Sea: This was the first known case of a Chinese drone approaching the Senkakus.