Japan and the United States have decided to cancel a joint security drill to recapture a remote island in Okinawa Prefecture, according to sources.
Tokyo and Washington were considering holding the drill on the uninhabited island of Irisuna as part of joint military exercise slated for November.
Sources said that the drill could lead to a backlash from Beijing, which has reacted harshly to Japan’s nationalization of the Senkaku Islands, which are also claimed by China and Taiwan. According to the Japan Times, a government source said that the decision to skip the Irisuna recapturing drill ‘reflects the opinion of the prime minister’s office’.
Another reason was opposition from residents on Okinawa Island, about 60 km away, where sentiment against US bases has flared up following allegations that a Japanese woman was raped by U.S. sailors on Tuesday, the report said.
According to the report, the sources said that in light of these factors, the Defense Ministry found it difficult to proceed with the exercise, although it is considering substitute drills.