Typhoon forces Britain and Japan to cancel historic beach landing drill
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Typhoon forces Britain and Japan to cancel historic beach landing drill

Tokyo: Britain and Japan have cancelled a planned simulated amphibious beach assault near Mount Fuji that would have been the first joint drill between their troops in Japan, officials said on Wednesday, as a typhoon approached the Japanese mainland.

Typhoon Cimaron, which is heading north from the western Pacific, is expected to bring strong winds and rain to Japan over the next few days.

Japan Self-Defence Forces marching band members perform as British Royal Navy's HMS Albion amphibious assault ship arrives at a dock in Tokyo.

Japan Self-Defence Forces marching band members perform as British Royal Navy's HMS Albion amphibious assault ship arrives at a dock in Tokyo.Credit:AP

Britain and Japan had planned for a Royal Marine detachment and Japanese amphibious troops to storm the beach from boats launched from the British Navy's flagship amphibious assault carrier HMS Albion on Friday.

The cancellation was announced by Britain's embassy in Japan and the Japanese Ministry of Defence.

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The Albion has operated in and around Japanese waters for several weeks, including patrols to help enforce United Nations sanctions on North Korea, as Britain seeks to bolster defence ties with Japan as it prepares to exit the European Union.

London is eager for a presence in a region that is driving global economic growth, while Tokyo wants to nurture defence ties beyond its traditional ally, the United States, as it contends with China's growing military.

Sailors of British Royal Navy's HMS Albion amphibious assault ship man the rails upon arrival in Tokyo.

Sailors of British Royal Navy's HMS Albion amphibious assault ship man the rails upon arrival in Tokyo.Credit:AP

A Japanese destroyer and helicopters had also been assigned to the exercise in addition to the participation of Japan's first marine unit since World War II, the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade.

Activated in April, the 1500-strong force backed up by helicopter carriers, amphibious ships, Osprey tilt-rotor troop carriers and amphibious assault vehicles was formed to counter any threats against islands along the edge of the East China Sea that Tokyo worries could be vulnerable to attack by China.

British Royal Navy's HMS Albion.

British Royal Navy's HMS Albion.Credit:AP

However, its existence is controversial because critics warn amphibious units could theoretically be used against Japan’s neighbours in breach of a post-World War II constitution that renounces the right to wage war.

Reuters