The Exercise Resolute Dragon, which runs through December 17 at locations from Okinawa in the far south of Japan to Hokkaido in the north, involves 2,600 US Marines and some 1,400 Japanese military personnel participating in a wide range of military scenarios on land, sea and in the air.

Analysts say the drills – which come shortly after bilateral sea-air exercises in the South China Sea and in waters off Okinawa prefecture, as well as a series of manoeuvres with military units from Britain, Australia, France, the Netherlands and Germany – underline Tokyo’s desire to deepen its security and military cooperation with its allies.