A joint naval exercise of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and the U.S. Marine Corps began Tuesday in Shiga Prefecture. Both are also using the MV-22 Osprey, the controversial aircraft that roused the people of Okinawa into protest. The military drill was officially planned to minimize the trouble caused on the people of Okinawa.
The SDF and United States MC enlisted a total of 230 military personnel to participate in the joint exercise, which is hosted in an SDF training field. However, the military drills have been lessened as Typhoon Danas comes through from southwest Japan. An Osprey or two is expected to be used for a program scheduled on October 16, two days before the commencement exercises end. Besides drills, the joint military teams will also hold disaster relief training in Kochi Prefecture. Scheduled in late October, the Osprey will again be used for transport.
Despite the careful planning, defense officials said that more than 1,000 people still held a protest near the training field on Monday. Those who participated in the protest came against the joint military exercise in Shiga ,as well as the deployment of the Osprey because of safety issues associated with the aircraft. The Shiga Prefectural Government also warned the SDF and the USMC to refrain from flying over commercial and residential areas. Both were also warned to avoid coming close Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest freshwater lake.
[via Global Times]