The Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the US military began large-scale joint exercises on Thursday, mainly in and around Japan’s southwestern islands, in an effort to strengthen their operational capability in those areas in the face of China’s intensifying military moves.
This US Japan military exercise is focused on defense in case of Chinese aggression in the regions closer to Javanese borders and Indo-Pacific.
The exercise, called Keen Sword, is scheduled to last until Nov. 19 and will involve around 26,000 members of Japan’s ground, naval and air self-defense forces and about 10,000 U.S. troops, including those from the Space Force, the defense said. Ministry.
The exercise, simulating the defense of remote islands, will focus on Tokunoshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, where Japanese and American Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft will be deployed, the ministry said.
A total of four warships and two aircraft from Australia, Canada and Britain will also take part in the exercise, which takes place in principle every two years. About 20 and 10 vessels and about 250 and 120 aircraft will participate from Japan and the United States, respectively, according to the ministry.
The ministry said the drills are aimed at strengthening the deterrence and response capabilities of the SDF and US forces in dealing with contingencies as they oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force.
Tokyo and Washington are increasingly concerned about Beijing’s maritime assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region, including repeated incursions by Chinese vessels into Japanese territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands.
Uninhabited islands in the East China Sea controlled by Japan are also claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu.
China has also stepped up military activity near Taiwan, a self-governing democratic island that the communist country considers a breakaway province to be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.
The exercises will also include ballistic missile response and operations in new defense areas such as space and cyberspace, the ministry said.