Training At Camp Pendleton
Hundreds of Japanese troops and Camp Pendleton Marines have trained together every year since 2006, but this year dozens of Japanese reporters filled a press conference.
Japanese Troops Training At Camp Pendleton, Part of Larger Asia Focus
Hundreds of Japanese troops and Camp Pendleton Marines have trained together every year in Southern California since 2006.
They typically receive little media attention as they go about their business on the expansive firing ranges of 29 Palms and conduct beach operations along the coast at Camp Pendleton.
But this year is different as demonstrated by the dozens of Japanese reporters who thronged a Camp Pendleton press conference this week.
That’s because the month-long operation Iron Fist is being held against the backdrop of rising tensions between Japan and China over disputed territory to Japan’s south.
In late January a Chinese frigate locked its targeting radar on a Japanese guard vessel near the contested Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, according to the Japan’s Defense Ministry.
Both countries lay claim to the handful of remote, uninhabited atolls believed perched atop rich deposits of gas and oil.
There are also rising tensions between Japan and Russia over other disputed islands that the former Soviet Union took in the waning days of World War II.
Domestically, the importance of Iron Fist lies in its timing and the fact that Japan is the Untied States strongest ally in a region increasingly seen as vital to its national security interests.