When Chinese and Japanese fighters met for the first time over disputed islands in the East China Sea earlier this month, Japan promptly declared its right to fire tracers at China's jets.
Though met with outrage by China at the time, Japan continues promoting the live firing which Chinese military academics are calling the "first shot."
The Tokyo AP reports Japan believes it's simply following protocol:
“Every country has procedures for how to deal with a violation of its territory that continues after multiple cautionary measures,” Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Wednesday when asked if tracer shots would be fired against intruding aircraft that refuse to change course. “We have response measures ready that are consistent with global standards.”
If Japan is using the talk of tracer fire to gauge Chinese reaction, the tactic worked.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Sunday his country is on "high alert" and that Japan and the U.S. are ignoring the fact that "the islands are China’s inherent territory."