YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Today marks the start of Exercise Keen Sword ’19, the largest and most complex U.S.-Japan bilateral field training exercise. This biennial event is designed to increase the combat readiness and interoperability of the U.S. military and the Japan Self Defense Forces.
Keen Sword will give U.S. and Japanese forces an opportunity to practice critical air, maritime and amphibious capabilities essential for Japan’s defense and for regional security. Just as important, the exercise is a visible demonstration of the strength and durability of the U.S-Japan Alliance and our shared pursuit of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific region.
This year’s exercise will feature dozens of U.S. and Japanese ships, hundreds of aircraft and around 57,000 personnel from both nations, all committed to working together to enhance crisis response capabilities and improve readiness.
This year, we are also joined by our Canadian allies who are sending two Royal Canadian Navy ships and personnel to participate, as well as observers from several other partner nations. These developments are a positive sign of our shared interest in expanding partnerships and increasing multilateral cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
The U.S.-Japan Alliance has been the cornerstone of regional peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region for nearly 60 years, and events like Keen Sword ensure that we will remain ready for the next sixty years. On behalf of the 54,000 men and women of U.S. Forces Japan, I am proud to be a part of this Alliance that is so essential to our two nations’ shared interests. We look forward to working side by side with our Japanese allies to make this important bilateral exercise a success.