TOKYO (Reuters) – Britain and Japan canceled a plan for a simulated amphibious beach assault near Mount Fuji this week 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.
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 Ministry of Defence in Tokyo.
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 defense 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 defense ties beyond its traditional ally, the United States, as it contends with China’s growing military.
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 Two, the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade.