TOKYO: Japan and the United States have started a joint drill to practice retaking remote islands, the Japanese government said on Tuesday, as Tokyo and Beijing continue to face off over a disputed archipelago.
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, who has previously stressed “Dawn Blitz” was not aimed at China, told reporters that the joint exercise was designed to “significantly contribute to our capability.”
It is the first time all the three arms of Japan’s Self Defense Forces—army, navy and airforce—have taken part together in a drill based on the US mainland.
Of some 1,000 Japanese personnel participating in the multi-national amphibious exercise, the bulk are naval troops from three destroyers of the Maritime Self Defense Force, according to Japanese media.
Canada, New Zealand and military observers from seven other nations are also taking part in the US-led exercise in California, which will last until June 28 according to the US Marine Corps. Japan’s participation lasts until June 26.