TOKYO — The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s annual large-scale live fire drill Sunday near Mount Fuji in Shizuoka Prefecture imagined combined air, sea and land forces retaking a remote island captured by an enemy, an exercise that appeared to have recent Chinese activity around the disputed Senkaku Islands in mind.
About 27,000 people watched the maneuvers, including Defense Minister Tomomi Inada.
The location was regarded as a remote island. F-2 fighter jets from the Air Self-Defense Force made contact and fired anti-ship missiles upon supposed enemy vessels. To capture important positions, helicopter forces conducted reconnaissance and vehicles were dispatched. Ordnance such as mortars and anti-tank weapons were fired before a concentrated armored assault that included the force’s latest tank, the Type 10.
Around 80 vehicles, 60 pieces of artillery and 20 aircraft participated in the exercise, as well as 2,400 personnel. About 36 tons of live ammunition was used.
The Mount Fuji exercise has been conducted annually since 1966. Since 2012 it has been premised on defending a remote island.