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Japan's defense forces to visit Kiribati on biggest-ever Indo-Pacific tour

Deployment aims to check China's influence after island nation cuts Taiwan ties

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's Mogami and Kumano frigates at the Yokosuka base. (Photo by Konosuke Urata)

TOKYO -- Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force on Thursday began an annual Indo-Pacific tour that is set to be its largest to date, including a port call in Kiribati after the island nation switched its diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China.

The seventh Indo-Pacific Deployment is scheduled to run until Sept. 17, lasting 151 days -- longer than last year's 138 days. A total of 1,190 personnel will participate across one submarine and three surface units.

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