Japanese and US troops conducted a joint exercise to strengthen the defense of remote Japanese islands, according to local media Sunday.
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.