Japan, US hold joint drill after North Korea missile

TOKYO – Japanese and US military planes conducted a joint exercise Tuesday in response to a ballistic North Korea missile launch, according to Japanese officials.

According to Japan’s Joint Staff, eight Japanese and four US fighter jets participated in the exercise in airspace west of the country’s Kyushu region.

The US military and the Self-Defense Forces performed a combined exercise, according to a statement from the Joint Staff, “as the security environment surrounding Japan gets increasingly severe, including North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile that sailed over Japan.”

The further statement stated that the troops “proved their readiness and demonstrated locally and abroad the strong determination of Japan and the United States to deal with any situation.”

The declaration was made immediately after talks between US Indo-Pacific Command chief Admiral John Aquilino and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Without going into further detail, Kishida told reporters that Tokyo and Washington had “agreed to undertake a joint practise” and that “we are taking rapid measures.”

To reiterate the close collaboration between the leaders of Japan and the United States, Kishida said he would speak by phone with Joe Biden, the vice president of the United States.

The early-morning launch of a ballistic missile on Tuesday marked the first time in five years that North Korea shot a missile over Japan.

It caused the emergency alert system to be activated, alerting people to seek shelter in numerous areas of Japan.

Without causing any damage or injuries, the missile splashed down in the water.

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