Japan and the U.S. held joint jet military exercise on Tuesday, Oct. 4 in response to North Korea’s missile launch.
Video released by Japanese Ministry of Defense showed Japanese F-15 and F-2 fighter jets flying with U.S. F-35b fighter jets in air.
“The purpose of the exercise is to confirm SDF and U.S. military’s state of immediate readiness and to show that the two countries can respond to any situation with its close and tight cooperation, as well as to strengthen the response capabilities and deterrence of the Japan-U.S. alliance,” the Japanese Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
Nuclear-armed North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile further than ever before on Tuesday, sending it soaring over Japan, for the first time in five years, and prompting a warning for residents there to take cover.
It was the first North Korean missile to follow such a trajectory since 2017, and its estimated 4,600 km (2,850 mile) range was the longest travelled by a North Korean test missile, which are usually “lofted” high into space to avoid flying over neighbouring countries.
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In response to the test, U.S. and South Korean warplanes practised bombing a target in the Yellow Sea and Japan warned its citizens to take cover and suspended some train services while the missile passed over its north before falling into the Pacific Ocean.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the joint exercises after he met Admiral John Aquilino, the commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, earlier on Tuesday.
Kishida also said he will hold phone talks with President Joe Biden later Tuesday.
It was the latest in an escalating cycle of muscle flexing in the region. A U.S. aircraft carrier made a port call in South Korea for the first time since 2018 on Sept. 23, and North Korea has conducted five launches in the last 10 days.
The period has also seen joint drills by the United States, South Korea and Japan, and a visit to the region by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, who stood at the fortified border between the Koreas and accused the North of undermining security.
North Korea accuses the United States and its allies of threatening it with exercises and defence buildups.
By Reuters. (Production: Akiko Okamoto, Lisa Keddie, Sophia Wang)