Japan and the United States held joint aviation drills as a response to the recent launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile carried out by North Korea, Fumio Kishida, Japanese Defense and Foreign Minister, told reporters on Monday.
“Under the current security conditions after the July 28 North Korean missile launch, we significantly boosted the deterrence and counteracting potential of the Japanese-US alliance as well as showed the high level of our country’s willingness and readiness to stabilize the situation in the region,” Kishida said.
According to the minister, two US B-1 bombers and two Japanese F-2 fighters took part in the drills. The jets flew from the southwestern Japanese island of Kyushu to the Korean peninsula. Having reached the peninsula, the Japanese planes returned home while the US bombers continued their flights along with the South Korean partners.
On Friday, North Korea conducted the second test of an intercontinental ballistic missile in less than a month. According to the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the test was successful with the missile having reached the altitude of 3,725 kilometers (2,314 miles) and traveled 998 kilometers for about 47 minutes before falling in the Sea of Japan.
Following the missile launch US President Donald Trump condemned North Korea’s test pointing out that the United States would take all necessary steps to defend its national security. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged all countries to support stronger UN sanctions against North Korea. Japanese government regarded the test as a violation of the UN Security Council’s resolutions and called on China and Russia to step up pressure on Pyongyang.