The Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japan Coast Guard held their first joint field drill Thursday under a scenario where Japan's defense minister takes control of the coast guard if the country comes under armed attack, the government said.

The drill came after the government adopted its policy outline in April specifying procedures for the coast guard, under the command of the defense chief, to better facilitate cooperation with the MSDF amid China's growing military activities in nearby waters in the East China Sea.

Under the Self-Defense Forces Law, the defense minister can take control of the nonmilitary coast guard in case of a contingency, but there had been no regulations on the specific procedures for such a move.