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International relations

China's rise reveals Iwo Jima's flaws as US Navy practice site

Navy urges Japan to bring pilot training drills closer to country's main islands

IWO JIMA, Japan -- The U.S. Navy is urging Japan to relocate its pilot training site from this Western Pacific island immortalized by one of World War II's bloodiest battles, as it reorganizes to meet a 21st century military challenge from China.

For almost three decades, U.S. Navy pilots have brushed up their landing skills on this far-flung island, which has no civilian homes for the trainees to worry about. Landing practice can be a noisy business. But having to fly nearly 1,400 km over the ocean for a practice session is a serious drawback. The uneven runway also suffers from volcanic activity.

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