Japan, US military planes hold joint drill after N.Korea fires missile over Japan

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Japanese and US military planes carried out a joint drill Tuesday in response to a North Korean ballistic missile launch, Japanese officials said.

Japan’s Joint Staff said eight Japanese and four US fighter jets took part in the drill in airspace west of the country’s Kyushu region.

“As the security environment surrounding Japan grows increasingly severe, including North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile that flew over Japan, the Self-Defense Forces and the US military conducted a joint exercise,” the Joint Staff said in a statement.

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The forces “confirmed their readiness and demonstrated domestically and abroad the strong determination of Japan and the United States to deal with any situation,” it added.

The announcement came shortly after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held talks with the head of the US Indo-Pacific Command Admiral John Aquilino.

“We are taking swift action,” Kishida told reporters, saying Tokyo and Washington had “decided to conduct a joint drill,” without adding details.

Kishida said he would hold telephone talks with US President Joe Biden “to reaffirm the strong coordination between the leaders of Japan and the United States.”

The ballistic missile launch early on Tuesday was the first time a North Korean missile has been fired over Japan in five years.

It prompted the activation of an emergency alert system warning people in several regions of Japan to take shelter.

The missile landed in the sea without causing any injuries or damage.

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