Sep 03, 2013

    Tokyo force to join sea drill next year

    JAPAN'S Ground Self-Defence Force (GSDF) will take part in Pacific maritime-warfare exercises off Hawaii for the first time next year, the Defence Ministry said on Sunday.

    The move is expected to strengthen the force's ability to protect remote islands in the face of increased maritime activities by China in waters near Japan.

    The US Navy-led Rim of the Pacific or Rimpac, held every two years, is one of the world's largest such exercise, and will mostly involve missile launches and drills for responses to attacks by submarines and aircraft.

    The ministry decided to allow GSDF personnel to take part in Rimpac because it believes that boosting their cohesiveness with US marines will enhance their ability to defend remote islands.

    In addition to operating with US marines, personnel in the drill will likely practise landing on a remote island. In June, Japan and US personnel conducted a large-scale joint training exercise called "Dawn Blitz" that involved a scenario of recapturing an island seized by enemy forces.