TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan and the United States will conduct a joint military exercise from Nov. 10, the Japanese Defense Ministry said on Friday, as countries in the region and beyond are increasingly wary of China’s growing military might and assertiveness.
The drill, dubbed Keen Sword, takes place biennially around Japan. Some 36,000 personnel, 30 vessels and 370 aircraft from Japan’s Self-defense Forces and the U.S. military will participate in this year’s exercise, which will run till Nov. 19.
“By demonstrating Japan’s and the United States’ strong will and coordination, we aim to contribute to defending Japan and securing peace and safety of the region,” Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters.
Besides the two Pacific allies, Canada will be dispatching two vessels, while Australia and Britain will each send one warship to the drill, the ministry said.
Locations of the field training include Japan’s southwestern islands including Tokunoshima, which is closer to Taipei than to Tokyo.
U.S. Strategic Bombers
Land in Guam
Supersonic American bombers arrived in Guam this week in a show of strength designed to deter “potential provocations”, the U.S. military confirmed Thursday, after North Korea carried out a series of missile tests and artillery drills in recent weeks.
The U.S. Air Force confirmed the deployment of multiple B-1B heavy bombers to Anderson Air Force Base in Guam, without stating the exact number of aircraft. Outside observers had previously spotted two of the bombers via commercial flight tracking platforms near the island on Wednesday, but the U.S. had not confirmed their presence in the region until now, NK News reported.
Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder alleged the bombers’ arrival at the far-flung American base demonstrates the U.S. ability to conduct “global operations on any given day”.
“The deployment is meant to send a message that the United States stands closely with its allies and partners to deter potential provocations,” he said during a press conference Thursday.
The Air Force said the same day that the deployment showed the bombers’ ability to provide “lethal precision global strike options” for military commanders at a moment’s notice.