The revelation this week by Japan that the Marine Self-Defense Force has conducted submarine exercises in the disputed South China Sea is, while striking, unlikely to dampen enthusiasm on either side for improved Sino-Japanese ties, experts say.

The MSDF submarine Kuroshio conducted the drill in the strategic waterway Thursday alongside the helicopter carrier Kaga and two other destroyers, which are on a monthslong dispatch to the Southeast Asian region, the Defense Ministry said Monday.

The anti-submarine warfare exercise was widely seen as part of Tokyo's push to curb Beijing's militarization of the area, though Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera denied Tuesday that it had targeted any specific country.