USNS Tippecanoe (C) refuels Japan Maritime Self Defence Force destroyers Ikazuchi (R) and Kongo during their military manoeuvres known as Keen Sword 2011, in the Pacific Ocean December 5, 2010. [Photo/Agencies]
Kirishima, Japan - Japan and the United States launched a major ground training in Kirishima Training Area in southern Japan's Miyazaki Prefecture Tuesday, as part of the biggest-ever joint military exercises which kicked off in several places in Japan last Friday.
The ground training, called "Forest Light", involves 550 Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces (GSDF) members and 215 marines and sailors from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) of the United States, and will last to Dec 15.
Major training events include bilateral heliborne assault, helicopter and fast rope training, motorized movement to contact, passage of lines, sniper training, communications and first aid, among others.
Following an opening ceremony, the two sides held practice of first aid in the afternoon, during which the US Marines shared with GSDF members the experience they gained through missions in Iraq.
"We are very proud to be the partners with the Japanese ground Self-Defense Forces," said 1st Lieutenant Caleb Eames, public affairs officer of the 31st MEU, adding"it is very important for the spirit of bilateral cooperation with every nation, thereby keeping the region safe and secure".
"The more training, the more bilateral nature the exercise is, the better-off everybody involved is," he added.
The drills in Japan, which will run for eight days at bases across Japan and in the air and on waters around them. Republic of Korea joined the drills for the first time as an observer.