TOKYO: The Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, the French army and the U.S. Marine Corps started a joint drill in Japan’s Kyushu southwestern region on Tuesday.
The drill for the defense of remote islands is apparently aimed at showing the three countries’ solidarity and keeping a check on China’s growing maritime advance.
It is the first time for the French army to take part in a joint drill in Japan.
From Japan, a total of 100 personnel, mainly from the GSDF’s amphibious rapid deployment brigade specializing in the defense of remote islands, will take part in the drill, scheduled to continue through Monday. Some 60 members each from the French army and the U.S. Marine Corps will participate in the exercise.
Between Tuesday and Thursday, participants will conduct a map exercise and other drills at the GSDF’s Camp Ainoura in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture.
From Friday, they will conduct drills for street battles and landing using helicopters, at the GSDF’s Kirishima training ground, which straddles Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures.
Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told a news conference on Tuesday that another joint drill will be held in the East China Sea by Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force, the U.S. Navy, the Royal Australian Navy and the French navy.
“We want to further deepen the cooperative relations of the four countries, which share a vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and bolster our alliance,” Kishi said. The drill will take place also between Tuesday and Monday.