Thu, Aug 23, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Typhoon forces UK and Japan to cancel historic landing drill

Reuters, TOKYO

Britain and Japan have canceled a plan for a simulated amphibious beach assault near Mount Fuji this week that would have been the first joint drill between their troops in Japan, officials said yesterday, as a typhoon approached Japan’s main islands.

Typhoon Cimaron, which is heading north from the western Pacific, is expected to bring strong winds and rain to Japan over the next few days.

A British Royal Marines detachment and Japanese amphibious troops were to storm a beach tomorrow from boats launched from the British Royal Navy’s flagship amphibious assault carrier, the HMS Albion.

The cancelation was announced by Britain’s embassy in Tokyo and the Japanese Ministry of Defense.

The Albion has operated in and around Japanese waters for several weeks, including patrols to help enforce UN sanctions on North Korea, as Britain seeks to bolster defense ties with Japan as it prepares to exit the EU.

London is eager for a presence in a region that is driving global economic growth, while Tokyo wants to nurture defense ties beyond its traditional ally, the US, as it contends with China’s growing military.

A Japanese destroyer and helicopters had been assigned to the exercise, in addition to Japan’s first marine unit since World War II, the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade.

Activated in April, the 1,500-strong force backed up by helicopter carriers, amphibious ships, V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and amphibious assault vehicles was formed to counter threats against islands along the East China Sea that Tokyo worries could be vulnerable to attack by China.

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