Japan sent its massive Ise helicopter destroyer — one of the largest warships in its fleet — as well as the Inazuma and Makinami destroyers, for the joint military exercises in the waters near the Korean Peninsula. They joined the Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture-based USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier strike groups.
It was the first time the Maritime Self-Defense Force had drilled with so many carriers.
The MSDF said it was “using every opportunity” to strengthen the two navies’ ties, and joining the three-carrier flotilla for drills was “natural” as part of efforts “to “stabilize” the regional security situation.
Following the bilateral exercise, the U.S. vessels also linked up with seven South Korean warships, “the first time that three U.S. aircraft carriers have joined together at close range for a joint exercise with South Korea,” the Yonhap news agency reported.
“The combined drills are to present our resolve and will to deter North Korea’s provocations and retaliate if provoked,” Yonhap quoted a South Korean official as saying.
The rare three-carrier exercises kicked off Saturday and will run through Tuesday in a show of force that coincides with the final leg of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Asia tour.
It is the first time three carrier strike groups have operated together in the area since 2007, and comes amid growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula over Pyongyang’s nuclear arms and ballistic missile programs.
A car plunged into a crowd of spectators at a drift event in Saga Prefecture on Sunday, leaving four men injured, including one in critical condition, police said. (Japan Times)
In a powerful display of military might, Japanese and South Korean warships separately trained with three U.S. aircraft carriers on Sunday as the allies presented a united front against nuclear-armed North Korea. (Japan Times)
Police in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, said Sunday they have arrested a 30-year-old man on suspicion of killing the former manager of an automobile sales and insurance company that had gone out of business. (Japan Today)
The icebreaker Shirase, operated by the Maritime Self-Defense Force, left Tokyo’s Harumi pier for Antarctica on Sunday. (Japan Times)
A police probe into the attempted murder of an elderly bedridden woman has reportedly led to an unlikely suspect: a stray cat. (Japan Times)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to further their countries’ relations. The 2 leaders met for about 50 minutes on Saturday in the southern Vietnamese city of Da Nang. This was their 6th meeting with the previous one held in Germany in July. (NHK)
Concluding a peace treaty between Russia and Japan would involve Moscow examining how it could be affected by Tokyo’s security commitments to its allies, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday. (Japan Today)
The European Union has decided to lift its restrictions on imports of some foods from 10 prefectures in Japan, such as rice grown in Fukushima, home to the country’s worst nuclear accident. (Jiji)
The northern Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido is being hit by strong, cold winds caused by a low pressure system. The storm has injured several people and damaged many buildings. (NHK)
Japan will be among the lowest-tier of teams in the draw for next June’s World Cup finals after Senegal claimed a berth in the tournament on Friday. (Japan Times)