GSDF Parachute Training Joined by British, Australian Units

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The main gate of the Defense Ministry is seen in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo.

Funabashi, Chiba Pref. (Jiji Press)—The Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force’s First Airborne Brigade on Sunday conducted this year’s first parachute drop training, which was joined by paratroop units from the British and Australian armies for the first time.

No troops from foreign countries other than the United States had participated in the training before. The participation of Britain and Australia is apparently intended to make a display of the group’s solidarity at a time when China is stepping up maritime activities.

At the beginning of the training, which took place in a GSDF exercise area that straddles the cities of Funabashi and Yachiyo in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, senior and other members of respective countries’ paratroop units performed drop demonstrations.

Then, an exercise was carried out on the assumption of regaining a remote island occupied by enemy forces. In the exercise, members of the GSDF airborne brigade parachuted down from a transport aircraft of the U.S. military one after another and secured a position on the ground. The participants used tanks to get enemy forces under control and reinforcement units of the U.S. and British armies using GSDF helicopters were deployed.

After observing the training, Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters, “We were able to display strong cooperative ties with our allies and partners.”