Japan and US Hold Large Scale Joint Air Defense Exercise

Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) said Thursday it conducted large-scale joint exercises with the United States earlier this month with a total of 52 aircraft.

ASDF said the drills involved 20 ASDF fighter jets, 29 fighters and two warplanes of the U.S. Air Force, and a U.S. Navy patrol plane over the Sea of Japan, the Pacific, and the East China Sea.

Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force also carried out a similar joint drill with the U.S. Navy over waters near the southwestern islands of Japan.

The drills came amid heightened tension as reports of increasing Chinese and Russian maritime activities in the region.

In July, Japan’s Defense Ministry said a Chinese naval ship pursued a Russian warship just outside Japanese territorial waters in an apparent show of Chinese sovereignty over the Tokyo-controlled, Beijing-claimed islets.

Two days later, a Russian navy information-gathering vessel entered an area just outside southernmost Okinotori Island in the Pacific.

In May, China and Russia flew six strategic bombers over the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea, and the Pacific.

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