US, Japan planning joint military drill to ‘retake’ Okinawa island

Tokyo, Oct. 14: The United States Japan and are planning to hold a joint drill in Okinawa next month in which troops would ‘retake’ an uninhabited island from foreign forces, bilateral sources said.

While Tokyo and Washington said the exercise has not been designed with a specific location in mind, the first-ever drill to be held on a remote Japanese island under this scenario appears to be heavily influenced by the territorial flare up over the Senkaku Islands, the sources said.

According to the Japan Times, as the drill will inevitably anger China, which claims the Japan-controlled Senkakus in the East China Sea and was infuriated by Japan’s nationalization of three of the disputed islands last month, the exercise could take place unannounced so as not to worsen Tokyo’s strained ties with Beijing.

The drill is part of a joint bilateral exercise to be held from November 5 to 16, and would take place in the latter stages, the sources said.

In the drill, Japanese and U.S. troops would use boats and choppers to land on an isle occupied by foreign forces and retake it, the report said.

According to the report, sources said that the exercise would likely be held on tiny Irisuna Island, part of the village of Tonaki in Okinawa Prefecture and located 60 km west of Okinawa Island. (ANI)