Japan certified its Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB) during the 14th iteration of Exercise 'Iron Fist', which was conducted in Southern California by contingents of the US Marine Corps (USMC) and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF).
The move means that Japan's first amphibious assault force has now become "fully operational", according to a 12 February statement by the USMC.
'Iron Fist 2019', which ended on 8 February, also marked the first time the JGSDF brought its own assault amphibious vehicles to the joint drills held at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
"The development brought about by [Japan's] own assault amphibious vehicles significantly increases [their] ability to employ amphibious combat power and keep the people of Japan safe from our adversaries," US Major General Robert F Castellvi, commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, was quoted as saying in the statement.
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