The Defense Ministry said Friday that the Self-Defense Forces will participate in the U.S. military's Valiant Shield large-scale exercise for the first time.

SDF bases will be used also for the first time in the biennial drill in the Pacific region. The SDF's participation is believed to be aimed at enhancing U.S. and Japanese preparedness for potential contingencies around Japan.

Valiant Shield, which started in 2006, is held in areas including Guam and involves about 10,000 personnel.

The ministry said that the U.S. side invited the SDF to participate in this year's Valiant Shield and asked that parts of the exercise take place in Japan. A total of around 4,000 personnel, some 130 vehicles and about 60 aircraft from the Ground, Maritime, and Air SDFs are set to take part in the exercise scheduled for June 7 to 18.

Nine prefectures in Japan will host parts of the exercise, with Japanese and U.S. fighter jets set to take off from and land at the MSDF's Hachinohe air base in Aomori Prefecture and the ASDF's Matsushima base in Miyagi Prefecture, from June 10 for deployment drills.

Airborne drop training will be held at maneuver areas in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, and anti-ship combat drills around the island of Amami Oshima in Kagoshima Prefecture.

The other five prefectures hosting the Valiant Shield exercise are Tokyo, Kanagawa, Yamaguchi, Nagasaki and Miyazaki.

The exercise will also be held in waters and airspace near Hawaii and the Philippines.