Japan SDF, U.S. Military Begin Large Drill amid Virus Crisis

Society Politics

Tokyo, Oct. 26 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military started large-scale joint defense exercises on Monday, the first such drills amid the ongoing novel coronavirus crisis.

The Keen Sword exercises, which assume armed attacks and the defense of remote islands, are designed to enhance the SDF's quick response capability and improve interoperability between the SDF and the U.S. military.

According to the Japanese Defense Ministry, a drill on space situational awareness, or SSA, will be newly conducted. The SDF and the U.S. military will also hold the first landing drill on Gajajima, one of the Tokara islands in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan.

On the day, Gen. Koji Yamazaki, chief of staff at the SDF's Joint Staff, and Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider, commander of U.S. Forces Japan, boarded a CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft from the U.S. Air Force's Yokota base in Tokyo, and the plane landed on the Maritime SDF's Kaga helicopter-carrying destroyer deployed off the Shikoku western Japan region.

"Through the exercises, we aim to enhance the Japan-U.S. cooperation, and deepen and expand the bilateral alliance," Yamazaki told a press conference.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press