Japan’s Defence Ministry is considering moving an Air Self Defense Force air wing nearer to the Senkaku Islands following the intrusion by a lone Chinese state-owned plane of Japanese territorial airspace above the disputed territories in the East China Sea.

The government plans to deploy the ASDF air wing to Shimojishima Airport on Miyakojima, one of the Sakishima Islands about 200 km from the Senkakus. The move could halve the distance from the current ASDF air wing at Naha Air Base and would enable Tokyo to scramble F-15 fighter jets in no time, reports the Daily Yomiuri.

According to “informed sources”, the government will allocate several million yen in the fiscal 2013 budget for the planned deployment.

Last month, Japanese fighter planes scrambled to the Senkakus from the ASDF’s Naha Air Base in Okinawa, about 420 kilometers away. The jets took 15 to 20 minutes to the area and by then the Chinese plane had already left.