On March 29, the Maritime Self-Defense Forces (MSDF) announced a Japan-U.S. joint exercise had been conducted in the East China Sea from March 27 to 29. Five MSDF escort ships and three U.S. vessels, including nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, participated. After forming a fleet, the vessels confirmed tactical maneuvers and performed communications drills.
Earlier this month (March 7 to 10), the MSDF conducted a similar joint exercise in the East China Sea. It is unusual for a joint exercise to be conducted twice in one month. The exercises seem to be aimed at keeping China in check as that nation unilaterally continues its maritime expansion in the East and South China Seas. The five MSDF escort ships were “Yudachi,” “Samidare,” “Sazanami,” “Umigiri,” and “Hamagiri.”