The Daily Yomiuri reports that the Defense Ministry believes that the helicopter pilot who flew within 100 meters of a MSDF destroyer in early April was ignoring orders not fly any closer.

When the helicopter took off from a guided missile destroyer, it was about 4,000 meters away from the MSDF destroyer Suzunami. As the chopper flew closer to the Suzunami, the destroyer ordered it several times by radio not to fly any closer to the Japanese destroyers.

However, the helicopter ignored the orders and continued toward the Suzunami. Ultimately the helicopter was only about 90 meters away from the Suzunami at a height of about 30 meters, lower than the destroyer’s mast.

Does anyone seriously believe that a Chinese helicopter pilot, probably the cream of the crop of Chinese naval aviation, would willfully disregard direct orders from his superiors to avoid an international incident? A pilot from a totalitarian society where refusal to follow government rules is dealt with harshly? Just because, you know, he wanted to mess around?

Japan is humiliated by the fact that one of its destroyers was buzzed by a Chinese helicopter, and it couldn’t do anything about it. In order not to lose “face”, Japan then says that Chinese helicopter pilots are an ill-disciplined bunch that disregard orders from their superiors. In contrast, the Japanese, who took the high road and refused to fire, look disciplined in comparison.

A little bit of Cold War gamesmanship with an Asian twist.

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 536 post(s) on Japan Security Watch