The Ground Self-Defense Force's Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade has in the five years since its launch grown to become a "partner" of the U.S. Marine Corps, its deputy head has said.

"At first, the marines were teachers and we were students, but now we have become partners who train together and respect each other," said GSDF Col. Taisuke Fujimura.

The GSDF amphibious unit and the U.S. Marine Corps have conducted many joint exercises, and the two sides can now work together in higher-level operations, according to Fujimura.