Japan has decided to cancel its planned joint naval drill with the United States fearing that it would provoke a negative reaction from China, the Japan Times daily reported citing an unnamed source in the government.
According to the scenario of the drills, slated for November, the forces of Japan and the United States were to “recapture” an uninhabited Irisuna Island, a remote island in Okinawa Prefecture.
The drills, however, were called off as they could worsen the backlash from Beijing, which blasted Japan’s move to nationalize disputed Senkaku Islands.
The daily said quoting its source in the Japanese government that the decision to abandon the island recapturing drills “reflects the opinion of the prime minister's office.”
The relations between Japan and China have recently plummeted to their worst level in years over a chain of islands claimed by both countries.
The islands, known as the Senkaku to Japan and Diaoyu to China, have been at the center of a dispute recently that has triggered violent anti-Japanese protests across China and caused Japanese companies to suspend operations in China.
The islands, which are also claimed by Taiwan, lie on a vital shipping route and are situated above large hydrocarbon deposits.