Tokyo, June 24 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Army held a ceremony on Thursday to mark the start of their Orient Shield 21 joint drills.
The ceremony was held at the GSDF camp in the city of Itami, Hyogo Prefecture, western Japan.
During the Orient Shield 21, set to run until July 9, the GSDF and the U.S. Army will hold field training exercises at multiple locations in Japan with the aim of strengthening cooperation between the two sides.
It is one of the largest joint exercises between the GSDF and the U.S. Army, bringing together a total of some 3,000 troops.
The U.S. Army unit for the Patriot Advanced Capability-3, or PAC-3, ground-based missile defense system, will be deployed to the island of Amami-Oshima in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, for the first time.
At the GSDF’s camp on the island, the PAC-3 unit and the GSDF unit for medium-range surface-to-air missiles will conduct training using a simulator.
The first firing drill in Japan using the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, of the U.S. Army and the Multiple Launch Rocket System, or MLRS, of the GSDF will take place at the GSDF’s Yausubetsu training area in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido.
A live-fire exercise planned at the GSDF’s Aibano training area in the city of Takashima, Shiga Prefecture, western Japan, was canceled following an incident on Wednesday in which a mortar shell fired during an exercise there flew outside the site.