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The chief government spokesman said the Chinese plane entered Japanese airspace in the morning.
The Defense Agency said four Japanese F-15 jets headed to the area Thursday morning, but the Chinese plane, a Y-12, a nonmilitary type of aircraft, was nowhere to be seen by the time they got there.
The Foreign Ministry said a formal protest was sent to the Chinese government through the embassy.
The islands known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese have been at the center of a territorial dispute.
The Japanese government’s purchase of the islands this year from private Japanese owners set off massive anti-Japanese rallies in China.
Australian charged with plot to join Indonesia insurgents
BRISBANE — An Australian citizen has been charged under federal law with undergoing military training in Ukraine in order to fight with insurgents against Indonesian authorities in the restive province of West Papua.
Gerard Michael Little was refused bail Wednesday when he appeared in court in the eastern city of Brisbane charged with preparing for an incursion into a foreign state. His potential penalty was not immediately clear.
Magistrate Jacqui Payne remanded the 45-year-old invalid pensioner to custody until he next appears in court on Jan. 18. Mr. Little did not enter a plea.
Prosecutor Justin Williams told the court that Mr. Little was intercepted on his way to Papua New Guinea and intended to island-hop, undetected, across the border to West Papua, where he planned violence.
• From wire dispatches and staff reports
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