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Japan police military joint drills against foreign attacks

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Japan's police and military conduct joint drills against foreign attacks(Updated 05:22 p.m.)


Japanese police sped armed personnel carriers through city streets and soldiers slid down ropes from military helicopters in joint security drills Thursday in northern Japan, simulating a battle against armed invaders.

About 90 officials from Hokkaido police and another 100 from Japan's military took part in the drills in Sapporo, on Japan's northernmost main island Hokkaido, said Fumihiko Nemoto, spokesman for the Ground Self-Defense Force's Northern Army.

The drills followed a scenario of armed foreign agents entering Japan, with police requiring support from military troops, Nemoto said.

He said that this was the first time that local police and military jointly conducted exercises deploying personnel aimed at maintaining public order in the event of an emergency.

"The drills were to improve our readiness ... on cooperation between police and the Self-Defense Forces to maintain security from threats of armed foreign agents and international terrorism," Nemoto said.

He said no particular country was targeted in Thursday's exercises, but Tokyo has been concerned about possible attacks from North Korean agents. In December 2001, the Japanese coast guard sank a spy boat believed to be North Korean in a shootout.

The boat, which resembled a trawler but carried no fishing gear on its deck, sank after its crew fired submachine guns and rockets at Japanese coast guard cutters that had pursued it. The North Korean government denied involvement.

The Defense Agency said similar exercises were to follow in other parts of Japan.

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