US-Japanese exercise Keen Sword gets underway in Japan

Illustration. Photo: JMSDF

The US and Japan started their biennial exercise Keen Sword at military installations throughout Japan and surrounding waters on October 29.

This year’s edition of the exercise will be joined by two Royal Canadian Navy ships for the first time ever.

The biennial exercise is the latest in a series of joint/bilateral field training exercises since 1986 designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability of US forces and the JSDF.

“Keen Sword will give US and Japanese forces an opportunity to practice critical air, maritime and amphibious capabilities essential for Japan’s defense and for regional security,” said Lt. Gen. Jerry P. Martinez, commander of US Forces Japan. “Just as important, the exercise is a visible demonstration of the strength and durability of the U.S-Japan alliance and our shared pursuit of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

Keen Sword 2018 will also feature the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s (JGSDF) Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB), which will conduct amphibious landings in the vicinity of Guam and Tinian. US Marines from III Marine Expeditionary Force will work side-by-side with the ARDB and serve as mentors and evaluators.

“The US-Japan alliance has been the cornerstone of regional peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region for nearly 60 years, and events like Keen Sword ensure that we will remain ready for the next sixty years,” Martinez added.

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