Japan among Participants in Big Military Drill in Thailand

Soldiers attend the opening ceremony of Cobra Gold, Asia’s largest annual multilateral military exercise, at U-Tapao International airport, Rayong Province, Thailand.

BANGKOK (Jiji Press) — Japan is among the 30 countries participating in this year’s Cobra Gold drill in Thailand, one of the biggest multinational military exercises in the Asia-Pacific region.

The opening ceremony for the drill, co-sponsored by Thailand and the United States, was held at the U-Tapao naval airfield in the Southeast Asian country’s central region Tuesday.

The exercise, set to run until March 10, brings together 7,400 people. Core participating countries are the United States, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, while China is set to take part only in humanitarian aid-related training.

This year, Cobra Gold includes space defense training for the first time.

Japan has dispatched 130 participants, mainly Self-Defense Forces personnel, for training in such areas as space and cyber defense.