TOKYO, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- In a signal to China, the Japanese military plans to stage the recapture of an enemy-occupied island in December war games.
The exercise in the vast Nansei island chain, which includes Okinawa, is a response to the growing Chinese naval presence in the region, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported.
Although the drill will be part of joint maneuvers with the 7th Fleet and other U.S. forces, it is also seen as a test of Japan's ability to defend its own territory with less reliance on America.
Japan has previously refrained from such major simulations, but a senior Defense Ministry official told Yomiuri, "We'll show China that Japan has the will and the capability to defend the Nansei Islands."
Japanese naval, air and ground forces will be separated into a Blue Force (Japan) and a Red Force (enemy) for the exercise. The ministry plans to make part of the maneuvers public.