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The US Air Force (USAF) is participating in a joint bilateral exercise with the Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF) personnel at military installations across in Japan.

Code-named Keen Sword 2015, the exercise enables participants to improve their rescue capabilities through joint training and also helps to build bilateral confidence and strong working relationships.

The field training exercise has been held every two years since 1986. It primarily aims to increase the interoperability of the US forces and the JSDF to effectively and mutually provide for the defence of Japan, or respond to a regional crisis or contingency situation in the Asia-Pacific region.

During the exercise, the USAF 33rd Rescue Squadron and 212th Rescue Squadron personnel have joined forces with JSDF members to conduct a wide range of simulated rescue operations, while working together to improve the interoperability required to respond to a potential crisis.

Komatsu Air Rescue Squadron commander Japan Air Self-Defense Force lieutenant colonel Hiroshi Kageura said: "It’s great to have the US here to conduct joint-bilateral training that’s applicable to real-world scenarios.

"Rescue operations are important during peacetime and wartime environments. More lives can be saved through bilateral operations."

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"Rescue operations are important during peacetime and wartime environments. More lives can be saved through bilateral operations."

33rd RQS deployed commander US Air Force lieutenant colonel Jameson Dugdale said: "This exercise strengthens our partnership by giving us the chance to work together, share cultures and test tactics."

Nearly 11,000 US personnel are participating in the exercise. This includes those assigned to US Forces Japan Headquarters, 5th Air Force, US Naval Forces Japan, as well as the US Army Japan and III Marine Expeditionary Force.

The training manoeuvres are being conducted at military installations throughout mainland Japan, Okinawa, and in the waters surrounding Japan.

Exercise Keen Sword 2015 is scheduled to conclude on 19 November.

Image: USAF and JSDF commanders on the flightline at Komatsu Air Base, Japan. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo by 2nd Lt Erik Anthony/Released.

Defence Technology