TOKYO — Japan and the United States are conducting a joint military drill involving U.S. aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan in areas around Japan in light of North Korea’s continued missile launches, Japan’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday.
North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea on Thursday in the direction of Japan. The missile launch was the sixth in 12 days and the first since Pyongyang fired an intermediate-range missile over Japan on Tuesday.
“Amid an increasingly severe security environment surrounding Japan, including North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launches, Japan Self-Defense Forces and U.S. Armed Forces have been conducting a bilateral exercise,” the ministry said in a statement.
The joint drill, in which a Japanese destroyer is participating, has been underway since Oct. 1, the statement said. It did not say when it is scheduled to end.
The United States and South Korea carried out joint exercises this week.
North Korea’s defense ministry was “taking a stern look at the development of the current situation, which is very worrisome,” regarding the U.S.-South Korean drills, North Korea’s state media KCNA said in a statement on Saturday. (Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by William Mallard)