GSDF conducts drills to protect U.S. installations

Kyodo

The Ground Self-Defense Force began three days of drills with the U.S. Army on Tuesday to guard U.S. military facilities in Hiroshima Prefecture.

It is a new mission that was added in the revised Self-Defense Forces Law enacted a month after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the U.S.

The drills involve mobilizing the GSDF 13th Brigade based in Kaita, Hiroshima Prefecture, to guard three U.S. military facilities, including an ammunition depot in Edajima, according to the brigade.

The GSDF has been conducting exercises to guard U.S. military facilities in various regions since the law was revised, but the Hiroshima drills are the second held with the U.S. forces.

The first was in March at Misawa Air Base, which is used jointly by Japanese and U.S. forces.

The brigade said about 70 GSDF troops, 20 U.S. personnel and several helicopters are taking part in the drills to facilitate cooperation in protecting the facilities.