Japan will organize a joint military exercise with US and French forces in the south-west of the country in May, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said on Friday.
The exercise will take place from May 11 to 17 and will be Japan’s first large-scale to involve troops from all three countries, the Ground Self-Defense Forces (Japan’s military) explained in a statement.
Tokyo wants to strengthen defense cooperation beyond its main ally, the United States, to counter Beijing’s actions in the East and South China Seas.
“By strengthening cooperation between Japan, the United States and France, we would like to further improve tactics and skills of the Self-Defense Forces in the defense of remote island territories,” the minister explained to the press.
Japan expressed concern about Chinese activities around the Senkaku Islands, administered by Tokyo, which Beijing claims under the name Diaoyu Islands. In recent months, Washington reaffirmed that the security treaty signed by Japan and the United States covered those islands.