Keen Sword Military Exercise

The joint military exercise – Keen Sword 23 – is being held from November 10 to 19 this year.

What is the Keen Sword exercise?

  • Exercise Keen Sword is a joint and bilateral field training exercise between the US military and the Japan Self-Defence Force.
  • It is held once in two years to boost the preparedness and interoperability between the military personnel of Japan and the United States.
  • This biennial exercise has been held since 1986.
  • This exercise provides opportunities for the US military and the JSDF to train together across various mission areas in realistic scenarios.
  • Its ultimate goal is to build credible deterrence amid growing Chinese aggression in the region.
  • It aims to create comprehensive scenarios to challenge the critical capabilities required to support the security of Japan and the stability of the Indo-Pacific.

About Exercise Keen Sword 2023

The two-week-long exercise was held around Tokunoshima Island, situated southwest of Japan. It includes the participation of 26,000 personnel from JSDF and another 10,000 personnel from the US military. A total of 4 warships and 2 aeroplanes from Australia, Canada and Britain also participated in the military exercise.

The exercise includes several anti-submarine warfare and surface gunnery events that will help the Pacific partners to improve their joint and advance multilateral tactics. It also focuses on responding to ballistic missiles and new threats like operations in space and cyberspace. Simulations drills on remote islands is a major focus area of the exercise Tokunoshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Why is this exercise significant?

The exercise comes amid the Chinese military’s growing presence near Taiwan, the neighbouring country of Japan. Also, the Chinese vessels are continuously trespassing into the Japanese territorial waters close to the Senkaku Islands in the Indo-Pacific. The Senkaku Islands are Japanese-controlled, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. China is currently claiming that these islands are part of its territory.

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