MOSCOW -- The Soviet Union has apologized to Tokyo for the violation of Japan's airspace last week by a TU-16 combat aircraft which forced Japanese jetfighters to scramble and fire warning shots, according to Tass news agency.
'The main cause of the incident was that all navigation equipment of the aircraft failed, and so the pilot flew the aircraft in a blind flight, visually,' the official news agency Tuesday quoted Gen. Nikolai Chervov as saying.
'The Soviet government regrets the incident and offered appropriate apologies to the Japanese side,' Chervov said.
He said that after the Japanese jetfighters scrambled on Dec. 9, 'the Soviet pilot proved disoriented.
'Instead of turning to the left, he turned to the right, aggravating the violation of Japan's air space,' he said. 'It was only when the pilot visually discovered that he was over Okinawa that the aircraft made an abrupt turn to the left, heading for the alternate airfield' near Vladivostok.