Today, the Japanese army exercises alongside France and the United States. This is the first time that large-scale military exercises have been organized in Japan with ground troops from these three countries. “Japan is looking for allies outside the United States,” says Radboud Molijn, director of Japanwatcher and Global-Bridges.
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France seems a logical ally of Japan. Not only do the two countries have traditional ties, but France still has quite a few interests in the Pacific. The exercises should also be viewed in light of the Chinese expansion in the region. For example, the country claims 85 to 90 percent of the South China Sea. Molijn calls it curious: “ In 2016 the International Court in The Hague issued a ruling refuting China’s claim, China just does not accept it. This is a big point for Japan, because it is free passage.
“ They want to see later that they have friends other than the United States, later this year there will be a British aircraft carrier, as well as a German frigate. They are looking for other countries in violation of Chinese claims ”.
Tokyo and Beijing are notably fighting over the Senkaku Islands. “There is probably gas and oil there, and there are a lot of fish.”