Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force says it has started a joint exercise with the US and Canadian navies off the Kuril Islands, located northeast of the four Russia-controlled islands claimed by Japan.
The MSDF says the Noble Chinook drill began on Monday and runs through August 28. Five vessels including the Japanese destroyer Hyuga are taking part.
The exercise area covers waters from the Kuril Islands to the southern Kanto region in the Pacific.
The participating units will simulate joint search operations while sharing information and land helicopters on each other’s vessels.
Japan’s MSDF officials say the objectives is to strengthen cooperation among the three sides to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific.
They also say this is the first time for an MSDF vessel to conduct a drill off the Kuril Islands.
The exercise is believed to be intended to show the three countries’ cooperation with Russia in mind.
Russian and Chinese naval vessels were spotted off the northern Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido in late July. They are believed to have carried out a joint patrol.