TOKYO -- A Japanese submarine conducted a drill in the South China Sea alongside three other vessels, the Maritime Self-Defense Force said in a rare statement Monday as it aims to curb China's militarization of the region.
"Japan has been performing submarine exercises in the South China Sea since 15 years ago. We did so last year and the year before that," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on a TV program on Monday. "The purpose of the Self-Defense Force drills is to improve their skill. It is not intended for specific countries."