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Japanese defence ship to join intl disaster drills in South China Sea
Publication Date : 28-05-2014
Japan's Defence Ministry will dispatch the Maritime Self-Defence Force transport ship Kunisaki to an international disaster-response drills to be held in the South China Sea, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
The Kunisaki will transport about 140 personnel of the US and Australian forces in the search-and-rescue drills to be held in Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines.
This is the first time that the MSDF’s transport ship will be engaged in such a task as carrying as many as 100 US and Australian troops.
“This is not a military exercise, but a training for humanitarian assistance,” said a senior ministry official.
However, the planned drills will likely display the solidarity of Japan, the United States and Australia in the Southeast Asia to China, which has been intensifying naval advances in the region.
According to the ministry’s Joint Staff Office, the drills dubbed “Pacific Partnership” started in 2007 at the initiative of the US Navy, and the SDF takes part in the exercise every year.
The Kunisaki is scheduled to leave the US Yokosuka Naval Base in Kanagawa Prefecture on Thursday with the US and Australian personnel on board. It will arrive in Vietnam on June 6.
The vessel will then travel to Cambodia and the Philippines for drills to confirm the procedure of medical assistance in the event of a major disaster through July 15.