TOKYO (AP) — Japanese ground troops have joined American and French counterparts in their first three-way exercise on Japanese land, as they seek to strengthen military ties amid growing Chinese assertiveness in the region. The “ARC21” exercise started Tuesday in Nagasaki prefecture. Japan’s defense minister says Japan is seeking to expand its military ties beyond its alliance with the United States to include “like-minded” countries such as France. About 100 Japanese troops, including rapid amphibious deployment units, or Japanese marines, joined by 60 troops each from the French army and U.S. Marine Corps, are to conduct urban warfare drills followed by amphibious operation exercises under a scenario of defending a remote island from an enemy invasion.
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