Tokyo, Dec. 4 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Marine Corps started a joint exercise, called Resolute Dragon 21, on Saturday.
Resolute Dragon 21 is one of the largest exercises in Japan, involving about 1,400 GSDF troops and some 2,650 Marines. The GSDF’s Northeastern Army participated in a joint drill with the U.S. military for the first time.
Through the exercise, conducted mainly on the assumption of remote island defense, Japan and the United States aim to confirm cooperation and improve their joint capacity to deal with emergencies.
The joint exercise will be conducted at the GSDF’s Hachinoe training area in Aomori Prefecture, northeastern Japan, and the Yausubetsu training area in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido. An opening ceremony was held on Saturday at the Ojojihara training area in Miyagi Prefecture, also in northeastern Japan.
In the exercise, which will continue until Dec. 17, Japanese and U.S. troops will carry out transport training with the U.S. Marine Corps’ Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and antiship combat training using the GSDF’s surface-to-ship missiles and the Marine Corps’ High Mobility Artillery Rocket System.
The ongoing drill is an alternative to the Northern Viper exercise, which was joined by the GSDF’s Northern Army in Hokkaido, and is aimed at increasing the number of GSDF units that can work with the U.S. Marines Corps.
Japan’s Defense Ministry is considering holding similar joint exercises for GSDF units from other parts of Japan from next fiscal year.