Joint U.S.-Japan election-season exercise scrubbed out of sensitivity to China

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Washington and Tokyo have decided to cancel a large joint amphibious exercise scheduled for Nov. 5, one day before the U.S. presidential election and three days before China’s 18th Communist Party Congress, in which a major shuffling of government leadership will occur.

A USS George Washington aircraft carrier crew walks on the flight deck during the ‘Keen Sword’, a US-Japan military exercise on Dec. 10, 2010. /

The exercise was scheduled long before Beijing announced the opening day for its Party Congress.

But to avoid undue displeasure from China, the U.S and Japan decided to cancel the event.

The exercise would have focused on retaking islands lost to an enemy force.

This is a thinly veiled reference to the disputed Senkaku Islands, over which Japan exercises administrative control and which China claims as its territory.

Officially, the U.S. is neutral on the matter.

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