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TOKYO: Japan and the US are dropping plans for a joint drill to simulate the retaking of a remote island from foreign forces amid a row between Tokyo and Beijing over a disputed archipelago, a report said.
The governments are set to cancel the drill as it could provoke further anger from China after a row escalated when Japan last month nationalised some of the disputed islands, also claimed by Beijing, Jiji Press reported late Friday.
The decision to cancel the drill, which would have involved an island that is not part of the disputed chain, was in line with the views of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s office, the news agency quoted government sources as saying.
No official was immediately available for comment at the Japanese defence ministry.
According to earlier Japanese news reports, the exercise would have been part of broader joint Japan-US manoeuvres due to start in early November.
The drill would have used an uninhabited island, Irisunajima, near the main Okinawan island in southern Japan, and would have seen Japanese and US troops make an amphibious and airborne landing, the reports said.
Malaysia arrests four Indonesian pirates
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian authorities have arrested four Indonesian pirates who tried to hijack a tugboat and barge off Borneo island in the first such attack there this year, an official said yesterday.
The machete-wielding men boarded the Malaysian vessel off Sarawak state Thursday with most of the crew of ten managing to lock themselves inside the tugboat and raise the alarm, Abim Sungom of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said.
Authorities captured four suspects from the barge loaded with containers while several others escaped.
The four were in custody and are being investigated for robbery, Abim said, adding the incident was the first attack off Sarawak this year.
None of the crew, comprising four Malaysians, four Indians and two Indonesians was injured but some valuables, including mobile phones and cash, were stolen, he added.