TOKYO -- The militaries of the United States and Japan began an enormous joint drill on Monday, though leaving out a key part of the exercise that might have angered China.
Japan's Defense Ministry said 37,000 Japanese and 10,000 American military personnel would be taking part in the 12-day drill, which involves United States Navy ships transporting Japanese troops. The top government spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura, said the drill, near Okinawa, was not aimed at a specific country.
But the Japanese government canceled a joint amphibious landing on a remote island in what experts described as an effort not to provoke China, which is locked in an emotional dispute with Japan over control of uninhabited islands near Okinawa in the East China Sea.
The friction has been intensifying for months. In a more direct challenge to Japanese control, Chinese patrol ships have for more than two weeks been entering waters around the disputed island group, known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.