Japan, the United States, Australia and the Philippines have held joint naval drills in the South China Sea, the Japanese Defense Ministry has said, amid China's continuous attempts to obstruct Manila's supply activities at military footholds in the waterway.

The four countries' training on Thursday comes after a Chinese coast guard vessel shot a water cannon at a Philippine military-chartered boat near the Manila-controlled Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea early this month.

The Maritime Self-Defense Force's largest helicopter carrier, the Izumo, and its Samidare destroyer took part in the drills, the ministry said Friday.