Japan scrambled fighter jets to intercept three Russian military aircraft that were approaching the country's borders on January 24, Tokyo's Defense Ministry said.
The Russian military's three Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers approached Japan's mainland from the north and flew over the Sea of Japan during the afternoon, it said.
Two of them then went southward toward the southern island of Okinawa and flew around the country before returning to Russia in the evening, it said.
The Russian aircraft did not violate Japan's airspace, the ministry said.
The last such encounter involving Russian warplanes near Japan's borders was about a year ago, in January 2016.
Most of the more than 500 Japanese interceptions of foreign military aircraft last year involved Chinese warplanes, the ministry said.
Based on reporting by dpa and TASS