France to join military drills in Japan for first time in May
France will participate in joint military drills in Japan along with host Japan and the United States for the first time next month, sources said.
The drills will be held between May 11 and 17 at the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Kirishima training ground, Camp Ainoura and other parts of Kyushu, the sources said.
The three countries plan to strengthen cooperation with an eye on China, according to the sources.
At the Kirishima training ground, which straddles Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures, the GSDF, U.S. Marine Corps and French Army are expected to conduct a drill for transporting and deploying troops from helicopters and train for urban combat between May 14 and 16.
The three are planning to stage table-top exercises at Camp Ainoura in Nagasaki Prefecture.
Meanwhile, plans are in the works for the Maritime SDF, U.S. Navy and French Navy to jointly conduct air-defense drills in waters and airspace west of the Kyushu region.
According to the Ground Staff Office, France has never participated in military drills in Japan.
The Ground Staff Office said plans for the three-nation drills are still being finalized.
“We are planning to have drills by Japan, the United States and France early in the current fiscal year, but we are in the final stages of coordinating over when and where they will be held,” said an officer.