US commander inspects defense of Japan's southwest

The commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command has joined Japan's top Self-Defense Forces officer in inspecting defense activities in southwestern Japan.

Japan's Defense Ministry says US Admiral John C. Aquilino and SDF Chief of Staff Yamazaki Koji inspected SDF camps on the remote islands of Yonaguni and Amami-oshima two days through Tuesday.

Ministry officials say the two senior officers observed the region by helicopter to share understanding of its current state as well as SDF deployment and activities there.

The ministry is strengthening defense arrangements in the region by newly deploying SDF units.

The inspection was apparently aimed at underscoring Japan-US defense cooperation at a time when China is increasing its maritime activity in the East China Sea and elsewhere.