SEPTEMBER 24-27, 1976

On the night of the 24th, about 30 members of a radical student faction staged a demonstration march at Hyakuri and made a futile attempt to force themselves into the base in protest against the MiG-25.  No other disturbance was reported.  The local residents appeared to have resigned themselves to the situation.

The C-5A carrying the MiG-25 landed at Hyakuri AB at 12:45 am Saturday morning, the 25th.  It was housed in a hanger heavily guarded by sentries.  Two flights of two F-140J fighters each escorted the aircraft from Hakodate to provided “cover.”

A team of about 60 Japanese experts headed by MG Yasuo MATSUI, Chief of the Technical Development Div., ASO, began to thoroughly check the aircraft, focusing attention on the radar, fire control system, electronic countermeasure equipment and other electronic equipment as well as the design concept, construction and material of the twin jet engines.

Foreign Minister Kosaka departed for the US on the afternoon of the 25th to attend the 31st UN General Assembly session.  He was scheduled to meet Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko at 5 pm Tuesday the 28th (New York time) or 7 am Wednesday JST.  Kosaka was scheduled also to meet Kissinger at 8 am Wednesday the 29th (10 pm Wednesday JST).  Gromyko too would meet Kissinger in New York.

In the meantime, an apparent heated dispute took place between the Foreign Ministry and the Japan Defense Agency on Saturday the 25th as to when the aircraft should be returned.  JDA wanted at least 30 days before returning the aircraft while the Foreign Ministry wanted a quick return in order to settle the matter peacefully.  It appeared the government needed to reconcile differences and arrive at a decision soon, perhaps in time for the meeting between Kosaka and Gromyko.  According to other reports, however, the majority opinion of the Foreign Ministry was that no date had to be given to Gromyko.  There was some feeling that Kosaka would be at a disadvantage in negotiating with Gromyko away from home ground and that, therefore, only “arrangements for return of the aircraft” should be made at the meeting.

SEPTEMBER 28, 1976

Most newspapers carried quotes from a Newsweek (Sep 26, ed.) article belittling the MiG-25 as backward and unsophisticated and yet praising it as flying higher, faster and with a bigger payload than any plane in its class.

In another report, 20 foreigners (presumed to be Americans) were spotted on Monday, the 27th, at a restaurant in Hyakuri AB.  Some also were seen coming out of the hanger where the aircraft was housed.  All were wearing special red permit badges allowing them access to sensitive areas.  When reporters attempted to approach them, they were blocked by ASDF officials who refused to answer any questions.

Some newspaper carried editorials about the MiG-25 incident and urged a speedy return of the aircraft based on the fact that Japan and the Soviet Union were on peaceful terms and not enemies.

China’s official news agency also commented on the incident, saying that the defections (including a recent defection into Iran also) indicated a decline in morale due to the Czar-like policies of the Kremlin.  It predicted increased resistance among the Soviet military in the future.

SEPTEMBER 29, 1976

Government sources announced that the inspection of the MiG-25 would be completed on 5 Oct, the thirtieth day after the landing. It was expected that Foreign Minister Kosaka would inform Gromyko that Japan intended to return the aircraft if requested and was prepared to commence arrangements for the return.  Implementation would depend on the Soviet attitude and how the plane was to be returned.

Prime Minister Miki instructed Takashi MARUYAMA, Deputy Director-General of the Defense Agency, and Keiichi ITO, Defense Bureau Director to return the MiG-25 as soon as possible.

Meanwhile the Soviet Embassy in Japan again issued a demand for return of the aircraft

SEPTEMBER 30, 1976

In the meeting between Foreign Minister Kosaka and Gromyko, the Soviets took a very high posture and the atmosphere was described as cold.  This attitude was anticipated by Japanese officials who expected that strained relations will continue between t countries for some time.

Gromyko pressed for return of the aircraft pilot and refused to discuss any other issues such as the northern territories and proposed visit to Japan by Brezhnev.  Additionally, Gromyko warned that Japanese fishing boats found violating Soviet territorial waters would be punished.  The suggestion was made that the Soviet Government might also take some retaliatory measure.

In the meeting, Kosaka officially stated Japan’s desire to return the aircraft and proposed that negotiations on the timing should be held through diplomatic channels in Tokyo.  Notification of this intention was also made to the Soviet Ambassador in Japan, Dmitry Polyansky.

In response to protest against examination of the aircraft, Kosaka explained that the MiG-25 was transferred to an ASDF base for security reasons.  He stressed that the plane had violated Japan’s airspace.  Refuting criticism of intervention by a third country, Kosaka stated that expenses incurred through use of the Galaxy C-5A were paid by Japan.

A PR complain was mounted by both the Soviets and Japan in regards to defection of the pilot.  The Soviets produced a tearful interview with the pilot’s wife and mother and stressed that the pilot would be forgiven.  A photo of the pilot with his  3-year old son also was released.  In retaliation to Soviet claims that the pilot was forced to defect, the Japanese in returned released a copy of Belenko’s written statement requesting asylum.

Another report carried a comment by SDF officials concerning recent statements in Newsweek magazine.  They wondered where Newsweek got the information that there was no ejection seat for the pilot.  The SDF experts stated that there was indeed an ejection seat, but no safety device to prevent explosion upon landing.  Perhaps the mistake was derived from reports that it would be dangerous to touch the ejection lever when inspecting the aircraft.  Also experts gave a wry smile at comments among high Japanese Government officials that “defections continue due to the light view of human life taken in socialist countries.”  Perhaps the Soviets are angry at this “unfriendly proclamation” or laughing at “the crude perception of the Japanese intelligence system,” they commented.

OCTOBER 1-4, 1976

Re-assembly of the aircraft began on 30 Sep and engine tests of the MiG-25 commenced on Saturday, the 2d, using the fuel which had previously been drained from the aircraft.  A check of the engine functioning was made along with tests of the FCS and other instruments.  This was the final phase of investigation of the aircraft.

The Japanese Government informed the counselor of the Soviet Embassy that the MiG-25 will be ready for return on or after Oct 15th at an unnamed Japanese port.  The port would probably be Hitachi, about 70 east of Hyakuri AB.  This decision would be made after consultation with the Defense Agency and local residents.  The Japanese Government also requested that the Soviet provide a ship, pay transportation coast and make compensation for the damage caused by the aircraft at Hakodate Airport.

In apparent response to the Newsweek article on the MiG-25, JDA experts made the following comments:

The aircraft apparently was designed as a high-altitude interceptor which can climb quickly, fire air-to-air missiles and escape.  It is equipped with a special turbojet which give top priority to high speeds.  The compressors in front of the engines are so designed that the engine output does not drop at a very high altitude where the air is thin.

The engines exhaust ports have a diameter of about 1.5-m which is 50% larger than those of the ASDF Phantom fighter.

Maximum thrust of the two engines is believed to exceed the Phantom by 8 tones and the US F-14, F-15 by about 15 tons.  The MiG-25 weighs about 20 tons with dead load, probably due to the great use of steel, and about 35 tons with fuel and arms, the equivalent of a GSDF tank.

The aircraft’s speed gauge had graduations only up to Mach 3 and those above 2.8 are painted red, indicating danger.

The existence of an ejection seat has been confirmed through X-rays and detection of rails.

The FCS utilizes electron tubes instead of integrated circuits.  This is believe to be in line with Soviet engineering philosophy not to jump on new contrivances but to pursue conventional and well-proven technology to its limits.

Unlike other Russian warplanes, the MiG-25 features a linear configuration eliminating “frills,” experts explained.

The Defense Agency also plans to build a mock-up of the MiG-25 based on the data collected.

As security in conducting the engine and systems check, a 4-meter high sheet fence was placed around the MiG-25 and the normal security guards numbering 250 men were increased to 900 men carrying carbines.  This was equal to half the military personnel assigned to the base.

OCTOBER 5, 1976

The main topic was announcement of the Japanese Government’s official view that the MiG-25 violated Japanese airspace and therefore was subject to inspection.  This view was given in response to questions by the opposition parties at a Upper House Budget Committee session of the Diet held on Monday, Oct. 4.  Apparently, there had been some conflict on the definition of ‘violation of airspace.’

In another article, the official communist newspaper Pravda demanded an early return of the MiG-25, making no mention of Japan’s message earlier which stated the intention to return the aircraft on or about 15 Oct.

Note was made of increased tension among Japanese fishermen due to tightening Russian control over territorial waters and increase in seizures of fishing boats.

OCTOBER 6-7, 1976

The only items of news related to the MiG-25 were reports that the scheduled Japan visit by Soviet Foreign Trade Minister Nikolai Patolichev this month might be called off due to the ‘strained relations’ between the two countries.  Apparently, the Russians also put off negotiations over Japanese purchase of Soviet coking coal.

It was also reported that the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune stated that the MiG-25 lacks radar capability to track American B-1 bombers.  The Tribune also mentioned the claim by Belenko that Soviet fliers have moral problems flying the MiG-25.  The pilots feel they are piloting a bomb because the secret components of the aircraft are booby-trapped with explosive charges in case of capture.  These charges reportedly are strong enough to knock the plane out of the air if they are triggered accidentally. According to the Tribune, Belenko was being ‘wined, dined and grilled’ by intelligence men in a hideaway near Washington.  It said that he gave satisfactory answers to several ‘trick’ questions designed to test his reliability.