Japan’s defense ministry has stated that they strongly suspect Chinese surveillance balloons entered Japanese territory at least three times between 2019 and 2021. This comes after the United States’ shooting down of a Chinese spy balloon on February 4th. Japanese Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno has said that such violations of airspace are unacceptable and that Japan has called on China’s communist regime to verify the facts of the situation and make sure it does not happen again. Japan is considering changes to its policies that will allow it to more readily shoot down similar airships that pose a hazard to civil air traffic in the future.
The United States has shared intelligence with dozens of nations after discovering that China’s spy balloon program had targeted at least 40 nations. National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby has stated that the program is connected to China’s military and has targeted the United States’ closest allies and partners. Japan and the United States have been communicating in order to gain a more profound insight on the issue.
China’s communist authorities have refused to acknowledge the spy balloons’ purpose, claiming that the object shot down in U.S. airspace was a civilian weather balloon, despite the fact that U.S. authorities have recovered significant amounts of sensitive electronics from the wreckage. The regime has threatened it will take “countermeasures against relevant U.S. entities”.