Japan, US conduct joint military drill to strengthen defense of remote islands

TOKYO    -    Japanese and US troops conducted a joint exercise to strengthen the defense of remote Japanese islands, according to local me­dia Monday. Tokyo-based The Japan Times reported that the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force along with the US Ma­rines “conducted a landing drill on the island of Tokunoshima in Kagoshima Prefecture on Friday as part of the Iron Fist joint exercise.” It is “the first iteration of the drill to be held in Japan,” the newspaper re­ported. “By conducting the drill in a location close to the Nansei Islands, the Japanese and US sides were looking to confirm their joint capabilities in defending the southwestern island chain and keeping Chi­na’s increasing maritime pres­ence in check,” it said. As part of the drill, units from the two countries “worked together to land troops,” it added. All pre­vious Iron Fist drills had taken place in the US. The exercise also included “parachute train­ing and landings with amphibi­ous assault and airborne units,” The Japan News reported. The exercise, which kicked off on Feb. 16, will continue through March 12.

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