Japan and China are set to begin joint naval exercises off the coast of Japan on Wednesday, officials said.
Japanese Vice Minister of Defense Toshio Nakamura and Chinese Vice Minister Liang Zuofeng said they are sending naval ships and aircraft to the Yasukuni Shrine, the site of World War II atrocities by Japan’s Imperial Japanese Army, for a naval exercise to be led by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
It is the first time the two nations have participated in joint exercises.
Japan’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement that the joint naval exercise will be a “preliminary” one and will not last longer than a week.
It will involve the participating warships and aircraft from both countries, and the exercises will take place “in accordance with the conditions of peace and security in the region”, it said.
Japan will send its warships to participate in the exercises as part of a routine training exercise for its naval forces.
It will also deploy its aircraft carrier to the Japanese side of the disputed islands in the East China Sea, as it had done in 2016.
China and Japan have been locked in a territorial dispute since it gained independence from Japan in 1931.
China says it will safeguard its maritime rights in the South China Sea and that Japan should refrain from building up military facilities on the islands.