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US, Japan Kick Off Keen Sword: Exercise Keen Sword, a US-Japanese simulated defense of the Japanese homeland, kicked off last week and runs through Friday. USAF units from air bases in Japan and Andersen AFB, Guam, converged on Japan Air Self Defense Force base Komatsu for combined missions including air and missile defense, ground support, maritime interdiction, search and rescue, and force protection. Keen Sword's goal is to provide a realistic training environment. Enhancing bilateral interoperability allows the Japan Self Defense Force and US forces "to respond to a wide range of situations," stated Maj. William Vause, exercise chief for planning. Keen Sword has been a biennial exercise between Japan and the US since 1986. Nearly 10,500 US service personnel from the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Army will join 34,000 Japanese personnel, under Japanese coordination. This year’s week-long exercise also marks the 50th year since the US and Japan signed their joint Cooperation and Security Treaty. (Kadena report by A1C Tara A. Willamson)