Japan and US Holds Island Defense Drill

The Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) of Japan and the U.S. Marine Corps disclosed on Wednesday, an ongoing joint exercise in defending remote islands.

Japanese authorities said the GSDF’s Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade and the Okinawa-based U.S. 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit have been conducting drills over three weeks since March 4 at a GSDF facility in central Japan.

“We are committed to our enduring foundation and to building interoperability,” Japanese unit commander Col Masashi Hiraki said at the training area near Mt Fuji.

Authorities explained that the drills assumed the training site in Shizuoka Prefecture is an island held by enemy forces, and the Japanese amphibious brigade had to pass information to the Marines to help the fighter jet locate and engage targets.

According to reports, an F-35 stealth fighter jet belonging to the U.S. Marine Corps for the first time participated in a joint exercise with the GSDF, a sign that the bilateral security alliance has deepened since Japan’s new security laws took effect in 2016.

Under certain conditions, the laws would enable Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense or defend allies even if the country was not attacked directly. 

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