Japan, US, France, Australia launch joint military drill

TEHRAN, May 11 (MNA) – Japanese, US, and French troops kicked off their first-ever joint military drill with the participation of an Australian naval ship on Tuesday in southwestern Japan.

Japanese, US, and French troops kicked off their first-ever joint military drill Tuesday in southwestern Japan.

An Australian naval ship is also taking part in the week-long air, land, and sea exercises involving 300 ground troops from the three countries.

It comes as Tokyo looks to deepen defense ties beyond its key US ally.

"In the long term, European commitment in the Indo-Pacific could lead to closer ties between Japan and NATO, something former prime minister Shinzo Abe advocated," Takashi Kawakami, head of the Institute of World Studies at Takushoku University, told AFP.

The drills, which include fighter jet and amphibious operation exercises, will be held in the Kyushu region and at sea with virus countermeasures.

A Japanese submarine and 10 surface ships- six Japanese, two French, one American, and one Australian- will be used, a French naval official told AFP.

HJ/PR

News Code 173311

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