Japanese city to host disaster drill

Japanese city to host disaster drill

U.S. marines stationed in Okinawa Prefecture will take part in an annual disaster drill that will be hosted by the city of Ishigaki, Defense Ministry sources said.

Marines are expected to confirm procedures for rescuing remote island residents using Self-Defense Forces helicopters as part of efforts to promote Japan-U. The sources said that S. cooperation was needed in response to disasters.

The city plans to hold a drill this year, which will be joined by some 1,000 residents on Sunday.

Some 45 residents on Taketomi Island near Ishigaki are set to be saved by helicopter from a scenario involving a massive tsunami.

The Marine Corps III Marine Expeditionary Force, senior officers from the Marine Corps III Marine Expeditionary Force based in Camp Courtney in the Okinawa city of Uruma, is expected to participate in the drill as observers look at the SDF's disaster response capabilities, the sources said.

The sources said that marine officers may look into preparedness for potential conflicts on remote Japanese islands.

Last November, U.S. forces in Okinawa participated in an SDF drill for the first time, assuming a large-scale natural disaster on a remote island. The exercise was held in a training area on Ukibaru Island.