Japan and the United States launched on Friday their biggest ever joint military exercises amid tensions on the Korean peninsula, the Kyodo news agency said.
Around 34,000 Japanese military personnel with 40 warships and 250 aircraft joined more than 10,000 U.S. troops with 20 warships and 150 aircraft in the "Keen Sword" drills in the Sea of Japan, off Japan's southern island of Okinawa.
The agenda of the exercises, which will continue until December 10, include integrated air and missile defense, base security, close-air support, live-fire drills, maritime defense and search and rescue missions.
Washington and Tokyo have invited South Korean military to observe the drills as a sign of solidarity with Seoul in light of its recent military clash with Pyongyang.
North Korea's shelling of the South's Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea last Tuesday killed four people and led both sides threaten war.
On Wednesday, South Korea and the United States concluded four-day joint naval drills to the west of the Korean peninsula in a show of force to deter the North from launching further attacks across its disputed maritime border with the South.
TOKYO, December 3 (RIA Novosti)