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‘Not a good sign’: drone footage of Japan warship on Chinese social media sparks concern in Tokyo

“It’s not a good sign if a drone can so easily get inside a base because these devices could be used to gather intelligence or signals intelligence,” said Garren Mulloy, an international-relations professor at Daito Bunka University who specialises in security and military issues.

More than six weeks after it appeared online, Japanese Defence Minister Minoru Kihara finally confirmed that the footage was real, dismissing earlier theories that it had been faked using artificial intelligence.

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo on Friday, Kihara said the intrusion posed a serious security threat.

“We are taking the findings extremely seriously,” he said. “If drones harm defence facilities, it could cause serious disruptions to the defence of our country.”

Kihara said it was critical that new defences be developed and deployed to deal with the threat posed by drones, adding that measures would be implemented to step up defences around military facilities.

“It appears that, at the moment, there is no steady mechanism, either technological or physical, to prevent drones from flying over the Yokosuka base,” security specialist Mulloy said.

He said Japan would have been “embarrassed” by the incident and the US military would undoubtedly inquire about the measures being taken to prevent a recurrence – although it is understood that halting all such airborne intrusions is currently almost impossible.

Though most aerial intrusions are caused by amateur aviation enthusiasts, Mulloy said the security breach at Yokosuka indicated what might happen if such a drone was being used for nefarious purposes by an enemy.

“There is also a safety issue if a helicopter was operating in the area and while the operator this time did not do anything