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NAHA, Okinawa — Marines from Okinawa will join with Japan Ground Self-Defense troops Monday to begin two weeks of joint artillery training in the Oyanohara training area on Kyushu.

It will be the first time Marines have trained with JGSDF forces outside Okinawa, said Maj. Susumu Kokuba, spokesman for the JGSDF’s 1st Combined Brigade in Naha.

Marines involved in the exercise, called “Forest Light,” are from the Combat Engineer Company, Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, a Marine spokesman said.

Kokuba said 100 Marines will join 270 Japanese soldiers for the training, which will use rifles, machine guns and trench mortars, according to a 1st Combined Brigade news release.

He said the training is part of a continuing effort to improve U.S. and Japanese troops’ ability to work with each other, as outlined in a May agreement to realign U.S. forces in Japan.

“Joint training is indispensable,” Kokuba said. “It is important to understand each other’s strategies. When you act together, you need to understand and know what your buddy would do next.

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