Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force and the US Marine Corps have held a joint combat drill on Tanegashima Island in southwestern Japan.
This is the first joint exercise of its kind to take place outside an SDF training camp.
The drill involving some 220 Self-Defense Force personnel and about 10 US Marines was open to the public on Sunday. It was based on the scenario of Japanese and US personnel retaking an occupied remote island.
The participants used helicopters to land on the island and moved toward their targets while carrying weapons.
A leader of the Japanese amphibious rapid deployment brigade, Keisuke Komatsu, says the exercise was a great opportunity to improve the joint response capability of the Japanese and US personnel.
Colonel Mark Clingan of the 3rd Marine Division told reporters this was a great training opportunity because this is the first time the US Marine Corps have been able to do a bilateral exercise with an amphibious rapid deployment brigade in Japan. He said the drill helped to improve the cooperation between the US Marines and the GSDF and enhanced their skills.
A civic group held a rally on Saturday to protest the joint exercise. About 80 people took part. A woman said she felt afraid because local residents were not given sufficient notice of the drill. She said she is worried that combat exercises could be regularly held outside training camps in the future.