TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The largest annual U.S.-Japan military exercise, Orient Shield, got underway on Thursday (June 24).
This year’s training event, which concludes July 11, is the 36th iteration of an exercise that aims to “enhance interoperability and test and refine multi-domain and cross-domain operations,” according to the Orient Shield Facebook page. Japan Defense Minister Kishi Nobu tweeted that approximately 3,000 Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) troops will participate in the drills alongside soldiers from the U.S. Army 40th Infantry Division and U.S. Army-Japan.
Kishi said that since Japan's security environment has deteriorated, it is imperative to bolster cooperation between the JGSDF and the U.S. military. He added that he hopes to further strengthen the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. alliance, Newtalk reported.
An opening ceremony was held Thursday, during which 40th Infantry Division Commander Major General Laura Yeager, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Middle Army Commander Lieutenant General Nozawa Shin, and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for National Security Affairs Kihara Minoru delivered opening remarks, according to Orient Shield’s Facebook page.
Orient Shield first began in 1985 and is co-hosted by the JGSDF and U.S. Army Pacific Command.