The Japanese Air Self Defence Force said fighter jets had been scrambled 1,168 times in the 12 months up to the end of March this year.
The overall figure is a sharp rise compared to the preceding 12 months when jets were deployed 873 times.
The previous high was 944 times back in 1984.
Japanese F-15s take part in a military exercise with US forces (archive image)
Of the total, a record 851 jets were used to ward off Chinese planes that were close to Japanese air space, a rise of 280 compared to the previous 12 months.
Russian planes, mostly bombers, were also of a particular concern after flying from the north and coming close to Japan, with 301 incidents – a rise of 4.5 per cent.
The figures come amid Japanese fears China is increasing its military activity as it attempts to gain influence in the East China Sea and areas of the western Pacific ocean, mainly focused around the chain of islands stretching for 870 miles from the mainland south toward Taiwan.
Extraordinary images show Japan's retaliation against North Korea
Fri, March 17, 2017
Japan took further steps to defend its people from attack by launching an advanced satellite system to spy on Pyongyang
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A H-IIA rocket, carrying a government's information gathering radar satellite, lifts off from the launching pad at Tanegashima Space Center on the Japanese southwestern island of Tanegashima, Japan
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Japan has also been building up military activity with its navy carrying out exercises in conjunction with the US near the Korean peninsula as global tensions with North Korea continue to grow.
The joint exercises are seen as a show of strength against the sabre-rattling of North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un.
Reports that the North Korean leader was preparing to detonate a nuclear device have emerged overnight with the Voice of America reporting the country had plans to test a bomb buried in a tunnel.
Japanese fighters were scrambled a record 1,168 times in the past 12 months
Journalists visiting North Korea have have been told to prepare for a "big and important event" on Thursday as Pyongyang marks the 105th birth anniversary of its founding president Kim Il Sung on April 15, North Korea's biggest national day called "Day of the Sun”.
However, the military exercises by Japan will anger China, which has supported North Korea.
It has reacted by scrambling 25,000 more troops to the border with North Korea and put the country on “nationwide alert”.
Japanese F-15 fighter jets prepare to take part in a military exercise
The extra troops are on top of the 150,000 which were mobilised on Sunday to the area.
China’s armoured and mechanised infantry brigades in the Shandong, Zhejiang and Yunnan provinces have been given the go-ahead.
A Japanese fighter jet pilot is scrambled (archive image)
Tensions regarding North Korea have threatened to boil over in recent weeks after US President Donald Trump promised to deal with the nation unilaterally should China not help and put pressure on their neighbour and ally.
The US President tweeted: "North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! USA.”