This content was published on May 11, 2021 – 11:37
Japan began, on Tuesday, a large joint military exercises in the southwest of the country with US and French forces, in the context of concern about China’s regional ambitions, including the navy, in the region.
An Australian frigate is also scheduled to participate in the maritime phase of this naval, air and ground exercises, called ARC21, which will continue this week on the southern island of Kyushu. This is the first time that France participates in this kind of joint operations with its naval and land forces in the Japanese archipelago.
Preparations are taking place between Tuesday and Thursday at the Ainura camp, and the naval operational part will open on Friday in western Kyushu, while the air-ground part is scheduled to take place on Saturday and Sunday at the Kirishima training ground, according to military sources.
A senior French navy official told AFP that a Japanese submarine and 10 surface ships – six Japanese, one American, Australian and French – were taking part in the exercises.
Japanese maritime patrol aircraft, ship helicopters, Japanese F-2 fighters and US Air Force F-16 fighters will also intervene.
This set of exercises is taking place as Tokyo seeks to deepen its defense cooperation outside its main ally, the United States, to counter the growing Chinese presence in regional seas, where it has many conflicts with coastal states, according to experts.