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Japan-U.S. begin joint drills in sea, air near Okinawa


09:13, November 06, 2012

TOKYO, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Self-Defense Forces and the United States military began joint drills in airspace and sea near Okinawa Prefecture on Monday, according to Japan's Defense Ministry and local media.

Japan's public broadcaster, NHK, reported that more than 37,000 personnel from Japan's Self-Defense Forces and some 10,000 U.S. military personnel are involved in the joint drill, which is also utilizing a U.S. aircraft carrier.

The drill, set to last for 12-days and dubbed "Keen Sword", is aimed at improving military preparedness near remote islands, Defense Ministry sources said.

The drills, which are not open to the media, were originally supposed to include on Monday an exercise in which the joint forces reclaim a remote island off Okinawa that has been captured by enemy forces, according to local media sources.

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