- Apr 13, 2013
TOKYO, November 8 (RIA Novosti) - All three service branches of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and the United States military forces have begun major joint exercises Keen Sword in Japan, the country's Defense Ministry said Saturday.
According to the Ministry, the drills with more than 40,000 participants – 30,700 Japanese and 10,000 US - 25 warships and 260 aircraft, will last until November 19th.
US and Japan have been holding the joint Keen Sword military exercises since 1986. The current drills are the 12th.
The exercises will take place all over the territory of Japan on the military bases of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force and on the US military bases located on the Japanese territory. The participants will practice in air defense with the use of surface-to-air missiles on the southern island Amami Oshima. In the water seast to the Kyushu island, the US and Japanese Navy will practice joint actions. The actions in case of enemy landing will be practiced on one of the small uninhabited islands of Amami. Drills of this kind have been held since the escalation of the territorial dispute between Japan and China over Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.
This year the US-Japanese drills coincide in time with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing. On the sidelines of the international forum, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to discuss bilateral relations including the islands dispute.
A meeting between Chinese and Japanese officials in Beijing on Friday resulted in an agreement to address tensions over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Part of the agreement includes a mechanism to prevent maritime accidents.
source:Japanese Self-Defense Forces, US Begin Major Military Drills in Japan: Defense Ministry | Military & Intelligence | RIA Novosti