The Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the US military on Thursday began a large-scale joint exercise mainly in and around Japan’s southwestern islands, in an effort to boost their operational capability in those areas, with China’s intensifying military activities in mind, Report informs, citing Kyodo News.
The exercise, called “Keen Sword,” is scheduled to last until November 19 and will involve about 26,000 personnel from the Japanese ground, maritime, and air self-defense forces and around 10,000 US soldiers, including those from the Space Force, according to the Japanese Defense Ministry.
Drills simulating the defense of remote islands will be focused on Tokunoshima Island in the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima, with Japanese and US Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft deployed there, the ministry said.
A total of four warships and two airplanes from Australia, Canada, and Britain will also join the drills, which are, in principle, held biennially. From Japan and the United States, some 20 and 10 vessels and about 250 and 120 aircraft will take part, respectively, according to the ministry.
The ministry said the exercises 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 alter the status quo by force.