Japan to join ‘Garuda Shield’ military drills for first time

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By Elaine Lies and Stanley Widianto TOKYO (Reuters) -Japanese defence forces will participate for the first time in military exercises in Indonesia next month alongside the United States and Australia, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday after talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Japan’s involvement comes as Washington and its regional allies step up efforts to counter China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region. Japan has recently been putting heavy diplomatic emphasis on maintaining a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” and Kishida visited the region, inclu…

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