France and United States plan to hold military exercise in Japan with Japanese defense forces

According to information published by the Japan Time newspaper website on December 6, 2020, Japan, France and the United States armed forces plan to hold next year's first joint military exercise on land and sea in Japan.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 U.S. Navy ships assigned to the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group joined ships of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Escort Flotilla 1, Escort Flotilla 4, and the Royal Canadian Navy in formation during Keen Sword 21. (Picture source U.S. Navy)

The exercises, to be conducted on one of Japan’s uninhabited outlying islands, will focus on providing relief efforts during a natural disaster, but parts could also form the basis for a defense against attack, the paper said, without citing sources.

Citing the Japan Times website, with China’s expanding presence in the Asia-Pacific region and the intensifying territorial dispute in the East China Sea, the security dilemma between China and Japan has become extremely complicated. The joint exercises aim to counter China, which claims Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea.

In October 2020, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command forces and units from the Japan Self-Defense Force carried out military exercise Keen Sword 21 (KS21), on military installations throughout mainland Japan, Okinawa prefecture, and their surrounding territorial waters.

Keen Sword 21 is a biennial, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command-scheduled, and U.S. Pacific Fleet-sponsored field training exercise (FTX). The goal of this exercise is to enhanced Japan-U.S. combat readiness and interoperability while strengthening bilateral relationships and demonstrating U.S. resolve to support the security interests of allies and partners in the region.

Around 9,000 military personnel from the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps have participated in Keen Sword 21, including ships from the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and more than 100 aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, USS Ashland (LSD 48), HMCS Winnipeg (FFH 338), Commander Task Force 72 and 5th Air Force.

Units from the U.S. military and their JSDF counterparts have trained in a comprehensive scenario designed to exercise the critical capabilities required to support the defense of Japan and respond to a crisis or contingency in the Indo-Pacific region.