Japan scrambles jets after Russian planes spotted off the country’s coasts

Japan scrambles jets after Russian planes spotted off the country’s coasts

Japan scrambles jets after Russian planes spotted off the country’s coasts

Context 

Russian patrol aircraft were spotted off the coasts of the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea on Friday, the country’s Joint Staff reported, prompting Japan to scramble fighter fighters. 

Where is The Tsushima Strait?

The Tsushima Strait, also known as Tsushima Kaikyō in Japanese and Dongsuro in Korean, is a narrow channel of water that separates the Korean Peninsula from the Japanese islands. It connects several major bodies of water, including the Sea of Japan to the west, the Yellow Sea to the south, and the East China Sea to the southeast. The strait is situated between Tsushima Island to the north and the Korean Peninsula to the south, and it holds significant historical, geographic, and strategic importance.

What is the geographical significance of The Tsushima Strait?

  • On Tsushima Island’s eastern coast, the Tsushima Strait spans for around 100 kilometres.
  • The Iki Island, which is close to the tip of Japan’s Honshu Island, narrows the strait at its narrowest point, southeast of Shimono-Shima (the southern end of Tsushima Island).
  • The strait is around 140 meters deep.
  • Rich fishery resources from the East China Sea are transported into the Sea of Japan by the warm branch of the Kuroshio Current as it passes through the strait. However, it can also transport rubbish from nations in its path and invasive species.

What is the historical significance of the Tsushima Strait?

  • Between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, the Tsushima Strait has traditionally been an important maritime passage that has been used for trade, migration, and invasions.
  • The oldest settlement of Japan is believed to have taken place in the northern Kyushu region close to the strait, according to legend, history, and archaeological evidence.
  • In the fifth century, it contributed to the dissemination of Buddhism and Chinese writing from the Korean Peninsula to Japan.
  • The infamous “kamikaze” typhoon, which helped to save Japan from the Mongol fleet, was a result of the Mongol invasions of Japan in the 13th century, which crossed the strait.
  • The Russo-Japanese War’s pivotal naval Battle of Tsushima, which saw the Japanese navy destroy the Russian fleet in 1905, took place in the strait.

What is the strategic significance of the place?

  • Strategically speaking, the Tsushima Strait is important since it connects Japan and the Korean Peninsula.
  • Throughout history, it has been employed for military objectives, including in the Russo-Japanese War and other battles.
  • The strait, which connects Japan and South Korea, is crucial for modern maritime trade and transit.
  • Instead of the typical twelve nautical miles, Japan’s territorial seas only reach three nautical miles into the strait. According to reports, this unusual arrangement permits nuclear-armed United States Navy vessels and submarines to pass through without breaking Japan’s ban on nuclear weapons on its soil.