Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Japan to join major US-Australia military drill

Japan to join major US-Australia military drill: Japanese troops will take part in a major US-Australian military exercise for the first time in July, as Washington looks to bolster links among its allies in the face of an increasingly assertive China.

Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) -- its army -- will send 40 personnel to participate in Talisman Sabre, a two-yearly drill that begins on July 7, which will involve around 27,000 servicemen, a spokesman told AFP.

"We will participate in joint exercises with the US Marines, rather than operating directly with the Australian military," he said.

"But our participation is seen as part of efforts" to strengthen defence ties between Japan and Australia, he added.

The drill, which takes place in Australia, is intended "to improve tactical expertise in amphibian operations and to strengthen Japan-US interoperability," an army statement said.

News of Japan's participation came as tensions remain high in the region, with increasing criticism of China's behaviour in the South China Sea, where it has accelerated building artificial islands in disputed waters.