US military to stage part of large-scale exercise in Japan for first time

NHK has learned the US military will hold part of its large-scale exercise in Japan for the first time in an apparent effort to improve its rapid response capability to address possible emergencies near the country.

The US military conducts the exercise, code-named Valiant Shield, once every two years in Guam and elsewhere. It involves personnel from branches such as the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.

This year's iteration of the exercise is scheduled to begin in early June and continue for about two weeks.

Sources say US fighter jets are scheduled to arrive at US bases and two Self-Defense Force facilities in Japan to engage in training with SDF aircraft.

The sources say the two SDF facilities will likely be the Hachinohe Air Base in Aomori Prefecture and the Matsushima Air Base in Miyagi Prefecture.

The SDF bases, both in northeastern Japan, operate patrol planes, fighters and other aircraft. But it is rare for US fighters to depart from the facilities to conduct training.