The United States and Japan have begun a joint-military exercise in Hokkaido that’s described as the largest ever of its kind.
The operation is taking place in the northern Japanese city of Eniwa. Senior commanders say it’s aimed at strengthening their alliance and not related to tension on the Korean peninsula.
“The Japanese U.S. alliance is extremely important for the stability of the Asia Pacific region. So the better we are, the better we are, the better we can communicate with our partners and allies, the better stability we will be throughout,” said Lt. Colonel Jeremiah Salame, Commanding Officer of 1st Battalion 3rd Division US Marines.
The 18-day exercise called Northern Viper involves some 3,500 troops and includes rocket artillery drills and live-fire operations.
US Marines take part in joint military exercises with Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force in Eniwa, Hokkaido pic.twitter.com/NXscb8jeOa— AFP news agency (@AFP) August 16, 2017