Japan and the United States started to launch their biggest ever joint military exercises on December 3. These exercises are being held to mark the 50th anniversary of the US-Japan alliance. The joint military exercises between Japan and the United States are held amid growing tensions on the Korean peninsula. They come 10 days after North Korea shelled a South Korean island killing four people. Over 44,000 Japanese and American service members, 40 Japanese and 20 US warships are taking part in the drill. Hundreds of military aircrafts are involved in the drill off Japan\’s southern islands as well.
The drill named “Keen Sword” will continue until December 10 on military sites in Okinawa, mainland Japan and the waters surrounding it.
In the photo, the USS John McCain, left, pulls alongside aircraft carrier USS George Washington during the drill in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010
War planes secured to the bow of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington on Thursday, December 2
The joint drills include some 34,000 Japanese military personnel, 40 warships and 250 aircrafts, joining over 10,000 US counterparts with 20 warships and 150 aircrafts.
A C-130H Hercules transport aircraft was prepared to take off during a joint military drill in Japan on December 6
The US-Japan drills had been well planned before North Korea shelled an island of South Korea on November 23. But they were implemented just days after the United States and South Korea set up smaller exercises in order to deter Pyongyang.
The “Keen Sword” is launched in order to increase, improve and further enhance the bilateral relationship between Japan and U.S
During the exercise on December 6, eight US F-16s and four Japanese F-15s engaged with eight Japanese aircrafts to protect a U.S C130 Hercules military transport.
This is also the first time South Korean joined Japan-US exercises as a military observer.
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