SDF Joint Staff general says Keen Sword military exercise aims to establish ‘flawless defense system’

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Gen. Koji Yamazaki, chief of staff of the Self-Defense Forces’ Joint Staff, left, and U.S. Lt. Gen. Ricky Rupp hold a press conference Monday in the hanger of destroyer Izumo in the Pacific Ocean.

Gen. Koji Yamazaki said Monday that the Japan-U.S. joint exercise currently underway “is aimed at strengthening the capacities [of Japan and the United States] to respond promptly to all situations and contribute to regional peace and stability.”

Keen Sword, which is the largest exercise of its kind, began in the Nansei Islands and other areas on Thursday. Yamazaki, chief of staff of the Self-Defense Forces’ Joint Staff, made the remark during a joint press conference with Lt. Gen. Ricky Rupp, commander of U.S. Forces Japan, held aboard the Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer Izumo, which was sailing in the Pacific Ocean east of the islands.

“It is very meaningful to conduct this exercise in the southwest region in order to establish a flawless defense system,” Yamazaki said.

Rupp said that the U.S. will cooperate with other nations while continuing to deter provocative actions.

The exercise, scheduled between Nov. 10-19, involves about 26,000 SDF members and about 10,000 U.S. troops to check procedures for various defense operations and supplies. British, Australian and Canadian vessels are participating in some of the drills.