A three-day maritime exercise involving seven countries, aimed at helping to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, began Saturday off Izu-Oshima island
, Tokyo, according to a report on www.yomiuri.co.jp. The exercise, Pacific Shield 07, is being hosted by Japan
as part of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), and will involve 10 vessels and four aircraft.
The seven countries taking part are Japan, Australia, Britain, France, New Zealand
, Singapore and the United States. China and South Korea declined to join the exercise, reportedly out of concern their participation could antagonize North Korea.
The first day of the exercise was based on the premise that a suspicious ship, in this case played by a U.S. Army cargo carrier, is carrying WMD-related material and is stopped by the Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer Ikazuchi. (Source: www.yomiuri.co.jp)