Japan is worried about its alliance with America

08-Sep-2018 Intellasia | AFP | 6:00 AM Print This Post

THE control tower at Iwakuni air base near Hiroshima gives a bird’s-eye view of the huge facility shared by American marines and Japan’s Maritime Self-defence Force, as the country’s navy is euphemistically known. The marines’ F-35 fighter jets roar into the sky from a runway below. Hangars nearby house state-of-the-art Japanese seaplanes. In the past decade or so the base has expanded massively. It is now one of the biggest for American military aviation in the Asia-Pacific, with about 5,000 troops working alongside 1,500 Japanese personnel.

Iwakuni has long been a rare example of a base in Japan that is jointly used by both countries. And developments at Iwakuni show how security ties between Japan and America are strengthening, say Colonel Richard Fuerst and Rear-Admiral Yoshikazu Morita, the base’s most senior officers from the two countries. They say American marines in Iwakuni train more often with Japanese forces than they did a few years ago. Closer cooperation is also evident at other military facilities in Japan, whether it is fighter pilots conducting more frequent air drills together or desk-warriors training for cyber conflict. Dennis Blair, a former chief of American forces in the Pacific who is now at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA, an American think-tank, says the military relationship is closer than ever.



Category: Japan

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