Japan To Hold Joint Military Drills With US, France In May - Reports
TOKYO (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 01st April, 2021) Japan is set to carry out joint military drills with the US and France at a military base in southwestern Japan, presumably in May, Kyodo news agency reported on Thursday, citing knowledgeable sources.
According to Kyodo, the large-scale drills will involve ground forces of the three countries. The planned military exercises are part of Japan's efforts to expand the circle of the country's allies in addition to the US with the aim to counter China's influence in the region, the news agency said.
The drills will include joint operations in relocating troops using helicopters, combat missions in urban settings at training facilities in Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures, and defense of remote island territories using airborne units.
Tokyo has expressed concerns over increasing presence of Chinese ships near and in Japanese territorial waters amid the ongoing dispute over the Senkaku Islands, known in mainland China as the Diaoyu Islands. The group of uninhabited islands, located in the East China Sea, were transferred to Japan by the US in 1972.
Taiwan and mainland China believe that Japan's claim over the islands is illegal. The territorial dispute escalated after the Japanese government bought out three of the five islands of the archipelago from a private Japanese owner in 2012, establishing their state status.