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NEWS | Feb. 1, 2024

JGSDF and U.S. Marines rehearse defense

By 1st Lt. Steven Keenan, III Marine Expeditionary Force

From February 1 to 8, 2024, Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces and U.S. Marines and Sailors from III Marine Expeditionary Force will simulate a large-scale theater-level command post exercise, Keen Edge 24, across the southwest islands.

Approximately 1,350 Marines, Sailors, and Self-Defense Forces from III MEF and Western Army, JGSDF, will rehearse distributed combined joint command and control of maritime terrain in the first island chain. The purpose of the training is to increase bilateral coordination and rehearse stand-in-force concepts for territorial defense.

The Western Army and III MEF will employ bilateral coordination nodes in the prefecture of Okinawa and mainland Japan to synchronize logistics, fires, and maneuver as part of a stand-in-force.

“The Western Army and III MEF's bilateral relationship sets the benchmark for mutual defense,” said Lt. Gen. Roger B. Turner, the commanding general of III MEF. “This exercise will enhance our joint coordination for complex multi-domain operations as part of the stand-in-force.”

Keen Edge 24 is Lt. Gen. Turner’s first bilateral exercise working alongside Lt. Gen. Toshikazu Yamane, commanding general of Western Army, JGSDF, since his assumption of command in January 2024. The exercise will provide both generals the opportunity to enhance bilateral relationships.

Exercise Keen Edge 24 is a biannual, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, and Indo-Pacific Command and Japan Joint Staff-led exercise designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability of the JSDF and U.S. forces.

For more information regarding exercise Keen Edge, contact the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command public affairs office at