Self-Defense Forces gear up for large-scale war games on remote isle

AFP-JIJI

Warships, fighter jets and 34,000 troops are to take part in a huge exercise aimed at bolstering Japan’s ability to defend remote islands amid the territorial dispute with China.

The war games, which will include live munitions, come as Tokyo steps up its global awareness campaign by posting videos it hopes will swing world opinion behind its claims to two archipelagos that are the focus of disputes with Beijing and Seoul.

The air-sea-land drill from Nov. 1 to 18 will involve amphibious landings on the uninhabited atoll of Okidaitojima, 400 km southeast of Okinawan Island, a Defense Ministry official said.

Live-fire exercises involving destroyers and F-2 fighter jets will also be conducted, he said.

The island is a considerable distance from the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, which China also claims, and calls the Diaoyu.

However, defense chiefs are considering deploying short-range surface-to-ship missiles on Ishigaki Island, which lies 150 km from the Senkakus, the Asahi and Fuji TV networks said.