United States and Japan Began Iron Fist Joint Exercise

The United States and Japan are holding the annual armed forces exercise Iron Fist in a simulated Chinese invasion of islands in Okinawa and Kyushu Prefectures, which will run until March 17th.

While the exercise normally takes place in the United States since its start in 2006, Iron Fist will take place in Japan for the first time this year. The scenario for this year’s event is the “Taiwan emergency” and includes strategy formulation and command between the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and the Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF).

The units selected will practice amphibious landings on Okinoerabujima in Kagoshima Prefecture and Kin Town in Okinawa Prefecture. An F-35 Lightning II will conduct target practice on an unpopulated island west of Okinawa.

Around 600 members of the JSDF’s Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade will participate, using a Japanese base in Kumamoto Prefecture as a maintenance base for the participating helicopters.

This training comes after the United States and Japan held another exercise called Keen Edge. Officials hope that future joint operations such as this will bolster the capabilities of both nations and increase cooperation, as Japan is a crucial U.S. ally in the Pacific.