Japan was in attendance at a large-scale air exercise by NATO members that kicked off Monday in Germany, as the alliance sought to highlight solidarity amid Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine — and reassert that its partnerships extend even to the Indo-Pacific region.

Labeled the “the largest deployment exercise in NATO’s history” involving allied air forces, the two-week Air Defender drills in European airspace involve around 10,000 personnel and 250 aircraft from 23 NATO members, as well as Sweden and Japan, including an Air Self-Defense Force transport plane.

An alliance spokesperson said the massive drills send “a clear message that NATO is ready to defend every inch of allied territory.”