Japan Plans to Hold Military Drills With France and the U.S. Next Year

Japan will hold joint military exercises around disputed islands in East China Sea in May 2021 with France and the United States for the first time amid maritime tensions with China.

Japan will hold joint military exercises around disputed islands in East China Sea in May 2021 with France and the United States for the first time amid maritime tensions with China.

French Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Pierre Vandier told Sankei newspaper that the scheduled exercises will primarily focus on humanitarian assistance and natural disaster relief efforts, but he also said that the exercises are a message to China.

“This is a message aimed at China. This is a message about multi-lateral partnerships and the freedom of passage,” Vandier told the Japanese newspaper in an interview last Dec. 5.

“We want to demonstrate our presence to the region and send a message about Japan-France cooperation,” Vandier said.

Chinese vessels have repeatedly made intrusions into the territorial waters surrounding the disputed islands called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan. Both countries have claimed the islands as their territories.

Last Dec. 7, Japan and the U.S. conducted joint military drills in southwestern Japan. The Japanese Defense Ministry said that the drills focused on countermeasures against attacks on remote islands.


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