Japan's Ground Self Defense Forces on Saturday held a live-fire drill at training grounds near Gotemba, Shizuoka Prefecture.
The annual exercise, held since 1961, comes as the government moves to expand the role of the Self-Defense Forces and boost the defense budget.
It is usually held in August but because the Tokyo Olympics had been postponed to this year, the event was moved up to May, as it was last year. About 3,100 GSDF personnel participated, using 45 tanks and armored vehicles, and 54 pieces of artillery, About 43 tons of live ammunition worth 780 million yen were used, the defense ministry said.
Held against the backdrop of Mt Fuji, a wide array of aircraft, artillery, tanks and helicopters fired on targets. The ScanEagle, a small, long-endurance, low-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle, was used for the first time.
The scenario was to prevent enemy forces from taking one of Japan’s southern islands.
The exercises are the biggest event staged by the Ground Self-Defense Forces each year. Members of the public, chosen by lottery, are usually invited to watch the drills, but because of the coronavirus, no spectators were invited this year. However, the drill was live-streamed on YouTube.