Tokyo: Japan and China`s coastguard took part in joint drills Tuesday alongside counterparts from the United States and Russia, despite frosty relations between Tokyo and Beijing over a territorial dispute.
The three-day joint exercise that started Tuesday morning south of Tokyo brought together coastguard members who sometimes play cat and mouse at sea near disputed islands in the East China Sea.
The joint drills, which were being held in Japan for the first time, were hosted by Russia last year and South Korea in 2012.
The annual exercises usually involve six nations, also including South Korea and Canada.
Tokyo nationalised the disputed islands nearly two years ago, setting off a diplomatic row with Beijing, although the two countries still occasionally work together on similar exercises.
Since the dispute flared anew, Chinese vessels and aircraft have regularly approached the Tokyo-controlled islands, with Japan`s coastguard in hot pursuit.
Japan highlighted the growing tensions in its annual defence paper Tuesday, saying Beijing`s "dangerous acts" over territorial claims could lead to "unintended consequences" in the region, as fears grow of a potential military clash.