For the first time, Japan has defended U.S. military aircraft under security legislation passed in 2016 allowing its Self-Defense Forces to aid American military units.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed the mission this week during a policy speech before the Diet, but did not provide further details.
“With tensions growing over North Korea, the Self-Defense Forces carried out a mission to protect U.S. vessels and aircraft for the first time,” Abe said on Monday. “An alliance gets stronger if the partners can help each other. The Japan-U.S. alliance has without a doubt become stronger than ever.”