MSDF, JCG hold joint drill simulating Chinese intrusion near Senkakus

Courtesy of the MSDF
Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers and a Japan Coast Guard patrol boat participate in a joint exercise in the waters around Izu Oshima Island on Wednesday.

The Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japan Coast Guard have conducted a joint exercise to simulate a maritime security operation in the event of a Chinese military vessel approaching waters near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture.

Drills designed to mimic intrusions by Chinese military vessels are not usually conducted. The exercise was based on a scenario in which JCG patrol boats were struggling to deal singlehandedly with a situation.

Two MSDF destroyers and two large JCG patrol boats participated in the drill, which was conducted Wednesday in waters near the Izu Islands south of Tokyo.

One of the Izu islands was selected to represent a Senkaku isle. The exercise confirmed the procedures that would take place if the MSDF detected a Chinese military vessel sailing toward the island, the sources said.

In the exercise, a JCG patrol boat ordered the mock Chinese ship to change course, but the vessel ignored the instruction and intruded into Japanese territorial waters. A maritime security operation order was then issued, and the MSDF destroyers proceeded to prevent the ship from approaching the island.

Chinese vessels have been increasingly active in waters around the Senkaku Islands. The drill appears to have been aimed at strengthening cooperation between the MSDF and JCG.

With approval from the prime minister, the defense minister can dispatch the SDF to conduct a maritime security operation if the JCG is unable to handle a situation alone.

The SDF is permitted to use force under certain conditions in such an operation. Such orders have been issued previously, including when a Chinese nuclear-powered submarine entered Japanese territorial waters near the Miyako Islands in Okinawa Prefecture in 2004.