Members of the Japan‘s Self-Defense Force this week are training on the southern coast of California.
According to an Associated Press report, the troops are being trained for the next two weeks by U.S. Marines. The training will specifically train Japanese troops in amphibious assault tactics. The U.S. Department of Defense claims the exercises will help Japan and the U.S. better coordinate and respond to crises in the Pacific.
China, however, has criticized the continued militarization of Japan’s Self-Defense Force. According to a Japanese news outlet, China has requested that the U.S. and Japan cancel the exercises, which are scheduled to begin tomorrow.
China was one of the major victims of Japan’s World War II (and pre-World War II) expansionism. Tensions between the countries have varied over the past 60 years, with China regularly recalling Japanese-led atrocities during the war. Just last year tensions flared when members of a Japanese nationalist group called Gambare Nippon set out for the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu Islands in China and Tiaoyutai Islands in Taiwan) to counter protests from Chinese protesters the previous week. Ownership of the islands is currently in dispute, with Japan, China, and Taiwan all claiming to control the small chain of islands.