The Japanese military has conducted a joint aerial combat drill with the United States over the East China Sea amid escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Japanís Air Self Defense Force (ASDF) said Saturday that the military drill involved two Japanese F-15 jet fighters joining two US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers that were flying from Andersen Air Force Base on the US Pacific island territory of Guam.
Japanese F-15 fighters on August 31 also carried out an air exercise with US B1-B bombers and F-35 stealth fighters in skies south of the Korean Peninsula.
The joint air exercise on Saturday between the two allies comes as Seoul prepares for a possible missile test by the North as it marks its founding anniversary.
North Korea carried out its sixth and largest nuclear test on September 3, rattling global financial markets and further escalating tensions in the region.
Last month, Tokyo and Washington agreed to increase their military cooperation in an attempt to counter the perceived threat from North Korea.
North Korea is under mounting international pressure over its missile and military nuclear programs and has been subjected to an array of United Nations sanctions.
However, Pyongyang says it will not give up on its nuclear deterrence unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward the country and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea. Thousands of US soldiers are stationed in South Korea and Japan.