Coast guards of Japan, US, S.Korea stage 1st joint exercise in Sea of Japan

The coast guards of Japan, the United States and South Korea held their first joint exercise in the Sea of Japan on Thursday, allowing media to witness the event.

The move comes amid increasing maritime activities by China.

The joint drill took place about 40 kilometers off the Maizuru port, Kyoto Prefecture, with vessels and aircraft from the three coast guards taking part.

It was based on a scenario that two ships collided with each other and a fire broke out. Coast guards searched in their assigned areas using ships and aircraft.

The three agencies collaborated in locating and airlifting dummies using a helicopter and ships.

A Japan Coast Guard official, Murakami Ayumu, said that in exercises with foreign agencies, it is important to share and convey information accurately, make a plan and allocate resources.

He said that communications and collaborations between vessels were so efficient that the crews could locate the dummies, which were assumed to be victims. The official said he believes the three countries could attain the goal by working together.

Last month, the coast guards of the three nations signed a letter of intent aimed at increasing maritime cooperation.

They also plan to cooperate with counterparts in Southeast Asian countries and Pacific island nations to support their capabilities in search-and-rescue operations and crackdowns on illegal fishing.