The combined land, sea, and air Self Defense Forces of Japan held a simulation drill on Thursday, to practice recapturing a remote island that has been invaded by foreign elements. While they did not name a specific country in the simulation, the territorial issues with neighbour China have played a big part in setting up drills like this for Japan.
Around 50 marines landed on an uninhabited island 600 kilometers northeast of the Senkaku Islands, the territory in the middle of the dispute between the two East Asian powers. The marines used rubber boats and plastic training rifles as they attempted to “retake” the island. This was actually the first combined-services drill conducted by the SDF and involved around 1,300 personnel, two destroyers, two F-2 fighter jets, a carrier to ferry the troops and amphibious vehicles, a minesweeper, as well as several helicopters. According to Shigeru Iwasaki, chief of the military’s Joint Staff, the troops still have “a way to go” when it comes to amphibious warfare skills and this is a vital skill to be able to protect the country’s territories. “We intend to build on this drill today to boost our skills in the future,” he told reporters who joined them on Eniyabanarejima, one of the islands in the chain between Kyushu and Okinawa.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga emphasized that this drill was not pertaining to a specific country, although they admit that China is a source of concern. China reacted by criticizing the latest drill. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that what is of “high concern” to them is the “moves taken by Japan in the military and security field.” Meanwhile, analysts say that this combined, amphibious operations is also Japan showing what they are capable of when it comes to defending their territory and people. Grant Newsham, a former U.S. Marine liaison officer to the ground SDF, made this observation, saying that this operation is one of the most difficult things to do in the military.
[ via Reuters ]
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