Japan announces military drills in East China Sea

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 May, 2014, 10:29pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 May, 2014, 10:29pm

Tokyo has responded to the announcement that China and Russia will carry out military exercises in the East China Sea by declaring that the Japan Self-Defence Forces will conduct combined land, sea and air drills. Around 1,300 personnel will practise an opposed landing on a "remote island", the Defence Ministry said.

The name of the island was not provided as the exercise is theoretical, but the drills are designed to improve the capabilities of the Japanese military to recapture the disputed Senkaku Islands, which Beijing claims and refers to as the Diaoyus.

Three Chinese coastguard vessels entered Japanese territorial waters around the island on Tuesday, according to Tokyo, the 10th time this year that Chinese ships have violated Japanese territory.

The SDF exercise will take place on the uninhabited island of Eniya, off the southern main island of Kyushu, in mid-May.

Japan is developing a specialised unit trained in recapturing islands from an entrenched enemy. The unit will be supported in the exercise by elements of the Western Army Infantry Regiment. The drill will also include live-fire naval exercises.

Julian Ryall