Soviet warplanes waved away from near Japan

Japanese fighters scrambled to turn back two Soviet Backfire bombers and two reconnaissance planes that flew within 100 miles of Japan. The encounter came shortly after Soviet warships ended an exercise in the Sea of Japan where a Korean airliner was shot down by Soviet fighters.

Japanese defense analysts said Soviet aircraft regularly fly missions close to Japanese airspace, but the appearance of Backfires was the first since last September. In related news, Japan joined most NATO countries and imposed a two-week ban on flights to the Soviet Union because of the Korean airliner incident.

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