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Japanese jets alerted near disputed island

Jan. 5, 2013 at 2:27 PM

TOKYO, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Japan said Saturday it scrambled fighter jets to intercept a Chinese patrol plane flying near a chain of islands whose ownership is in dispute.

The Defense Ministry said the incident occurred about 120 miles north of the Senkaku Islands, which are claimed by Japan, China and Taiwan.

The Chinese Y-12 turboprop left the area without entering Japanese air space, officials told Russia's RIA Novosti news agency.

The islands are situated along shipping lanes and include sizable energy deposits. Their ownership has been the source of diplomatic tensions between China and Japan.

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