Japan's Neighbours Angry Over Regional Defence Assessment

Created: 2013-07-10 05:27 EST

Category: World

Japan's elite forces parachute onto the slopes of Mount Fuji.

The 1st Airborne Brigade is running military drills amid increased tensions with neighbours including China.

Japanese paratroopers leap from planes or helicopters with 100-kilogram packs, and are expected to fight and live off the land after landing.

[Tadao Maeda, Major General]:
"Our troops have a seriously high level of motivation - they all believe the reason they're here is to risk their lives in times of emergency. We make them jump out of planes to train for airborne assaults, or march with heavy backpacks without eating or drinking. That's just the way we do things here, it's our tradition."

Meanwhile, China and South Korea lashed out at a defence report Japan released that same day warning of threats from territorial disputes in the East China Sea.

The Chinese foreign ministry said Japan was exaggerating the threat to create regional tension as South Korea urged Tokyo to remove from the report its claim to disputed islands.

The annual report is the first since hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to power vowing to boost Japan's defence capabilities.