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Originally published Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 7:58 AM

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Japan holds military drill aimed at island defense

Japan has conducted a military drill apparently aimed at bolstering defense of islands at the center of a territorial dispute with China.

The Associated Press

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TOKYO —

Japan has conducted a military drill apparently aimed at bolstering defense of islands at the center of a territorial dispute with China.

The Defense Ministry says it was the first time the annual drill, held Sunday near Tokyo, was aimed at island defense.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Japan must improve its military tactics in light of the dispute with China. He said Chinese aircraft and sea vessels have infringed upon Japanese territory in waters and airspace around the disputed East China Sea islands, called Senkaku in Japan.

China also claims the islands, calling them Diaoyu. The Japanese government's purchase of the islands in September triggered violent anti-Japan protests across China.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said his government will increase defense spending to strengthen defense of the islands.

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