Two Russian bombers have violated Japanese airspace near its major southern island of Kyushu on Thursday, prompting Tokyo to scramble its own F-2 combat jets and lodge a protest, reports say.

The two TU-95 bombers arrived shortly after noon on Thursday (12:09 pm local time) for less than two minutes. 

If true, it was the first such intrusion since February, when two Russian fighter jets were detected off the northern island of Hokkaido.

Both sides declined to comment on the incident that comes soon after Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed in April to revive talks on resolving a long-running territorial dispute.

Japan has claims on four Kuril islands – Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and Habomai – citing a bilateral treaty on trade and borders dating back to 1855. Tokyo links the signing of a peace treaty with Russia, which has still not been signed since World War II, with reinstating its sovereignty over the four islands.

For its part, Moscow maintains that the Southern Kuril Islands became part of the USSR as an outcome of World War II and Russia's sovereignty over them is grounded in international law and therefore cannot be disputed.

Russia-Japan territorial dispute over the Southern Kurils

Drawing by Anton Panin. Click to enlarge the image

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