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Japanese, Chinese aircraft clash near disputed islands

TOKYO--Japan scrambled fighter jets on Tuesday to head off a Chinese government plane flying towards disputed islands in the East China Sea, Tokyo's Defense Ministry said.

It is the first such incident to be announced by the ministry since China created its new Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in November last year, which has stoked tensions in the region.

The Chinese Y-12 propeller plane flew into Japan's own ADIZ, about 160 kilometers (99 miles) from airspace around the Tokyo-controlled Senkakus, which Beijing claims as the Diaoyus, the ministry said.

The aircraft headed back towards China without entering disputed airspace after Japan's military planes became airborne, a defense official said, without confirming further details.

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