In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, troops of Japan Ground Self-Defense Force 1st Airborne Brigade take part in an military exercise in Narashino Exercise Area in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. This year, the troops conducted the annual drill on the assumption that an enemy invaded a remote island, local media said. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Ma Ping) NO SALES (The Associated Press)
CORRECTS YEAR - Paratroopers belonging to the First Airborne Brigade of Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces descend off a C-1 transport plane at Narashino Exercise Area in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. This year, the troops conducted the annual drill on the assumption that an enemy invaded a remote island, local media said. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE (The Associated Press)
TOKYO – Japan has conducted a military drill apparently aimed at bolstering defense of islands at the center of a territorial dispute with China.
The Defense Ministry says it was the first time the annual drill, held Sunday near Tokyo, was aimed at island defense.
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Japan must improve its military tactics in light of the dispute with China. He said Chinese aircraft and sea vessels have infringed upon Japanese territory in waters and airspace around the disputed East China Sea islands, called Senkaku in Japan.
China also claims the islands, calling them Diaoyu. The Japanese government's purchase of the islands in September triggered violent anti-Japan protests across China.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said his government will increase defense spending to strengthen defense of the islands.