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The Japanese SDF takes part in the American ‘brave shield’ exercise for the first time

The Defense Department said Friday that the Self-Defense Forces will participate for the first time in the U.S. military’s large-scale Valiant Shield exercise.

SDF bases will also be used for the first time during the biennial exercise in the Pacific region. The SDF’s participation is believed to be aimed at increasing US and Japanese preparedness for possible contingencies in Japan.

Valiant Shield, which started in 2006, is held in places including Guam and involves approximately 10,000 people.

The ministry said the US side had invited the SDF to participate in this year’s Valiant Shield and requested that parts of the exercise take place in Japan. A total of about 4,000 personnel, some 130 vehicles and about 60 aircraft from the ground, maritime and air SDFs will participate in the exercise scheduled for June 7 to 18.

Nine prefectures in Japan will host parts of the exercise, which will see Japanese and American fighter jets take off and land at the MSDF’s Hachinohe Air Base in Aomori Prefecture and the ASDF’s Matsushima Base in Miyagi Prefecture from June 10 for deployment exercises .

Airborne drop training will be held in maneuver areas in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, and anti-ship combat exercises around Amami Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture.

The other five prefectures where the Valiant Shield exercise is taking place are Tokyo, Kanagawa, Yamaguchi, Nagasaki and Miyazaki.

The exercise will also be held in the waters and airspace near Hawaii and the Philippines.

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