Japan is sending three warships, about 1,000 troops and about four combat helicopters to the so-called Dawn Blitz exercise, Inoue said. Forces from New Zealand and Canada also will take part.
Tokyo’s move to boost its amphibious training is “hugely significant” since the US is obligated to defend Japanese territory under a post-World War II security pact, said Kerry Gershaneck of the Pacific Forum-Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“We cannot ask young American Marines to fight and die doing a job that Japanese forces cannot, or will not, do,” he said. “The US Marines will help, but they must have a capable partner.”