Japan, U.S. on same page on China's air defense zone: Onodera

Japan and the United States have no difference in their stances toward China's newly established air defense identification zone, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Sunday.

The defense chief made the remarks on an NHK program, despite the U.S. government having effectively advised American airlines to meet the Chinese call to submit flight plans before their aircraft enter the zone set up over the East China Sea.

"We have received a reply from the U.S. government through diplomatic channels dismissing a view that it requested (U.S. carriers') submission (of flight plans)," Onodera said, stating the U.S. stance on this issue is the same as that of Japan.

The U.S. State Department issued a document Friday saying the government "generally expects that U.S. carriers operating internationally will operate consistent with" notification policies issued by foreign countries.

The department added the advice "does not indicate U.S. government acceptance of China's requirements" to be notified in advance of flights through the newly declared air defense zone. Yet the guidance appeared at odds with the Japanese stance that its airlines should not comply with China's new rules requiring advance submission of flight plans.

The move came after Japan's government told its airlines Tuesday not to comply with China's new rules requiring the advance submission of flight plans.

The Chinese air defense identification zone overlaps Japan's and covers airspace over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, which are claimed by China, where the uninhabited islets are called the Diaoyu islands.