Japan military practices defending remote islands with public opinion split over expanded role

Japan's military is showcasing its ability to defend remote islands, as its role expands at home and abroad under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The military began large-scale annual "Fire Power" exercises on Tuesday at the foot of Mount Fuji. Defense officials say the exercises, which last until Sunday, are aimed at repelling a hypothetical invasion of far-off Japanese islands.

Officials said the exercises reflect new defense guidelines that emphasize island defense. Both Japan and China are pressing their rival claims to a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

Abe's Cabinet has approved a reinterpretation of Japan's war-renouncing constitution to allow the military to defend foreign countries, sharply dividing public opinion.