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Japan military officer killed during US-Philippine drill

AFP  |  Tokyo 

said Sunday one of its members was killed in a in the during joint exercises with US and Filipino troops.

Suguru Maehara, a 38-year-old of the Ground Self-Defense Forces, was involved in the accident on Tuesday last week, according to a GSDF who confirmed his death.

"It is the first time a GSDF member has died during an overseas drill," the told AFP.

Maehara was delivering to members participating in the drill when the accident happened.

The exercise, codenamed Kamandag (meaning 'Venom'), marked the first time Japanese armoured military vehicles were used on foreign soil since the country adopted a pacifist constitution after its 1945 defeat.

But is not involved in the combat component of the military exercises.

The 10-day exercise is being held at a base facing the South Sea, some 250 kilometres (155 miles) from the Scarborough Shoal -- a territory claimed by that was seized by during a 2012 naval stand-off.

reported that Maehara was in a vehicle driven by a Philippine man near the naval base.

Another Japanese in his 40s who was in the same vehicle was injured with a broken rib. He was sent to a hospital with Maehara but was discharged on the same day, the GSDF said.

A Philippine spokesman for the exercises declined to comment.

The has ramped up military cooperation in recent years with Washington, its long-time ally, and also held joint naval exercises with near Scarborough Shoal in 2015.

has its own maritime territorial dispute with in the Sea, where China has built artificial islands and installed military facilities on them.

The stressed that Saturday's exercise was not aimed at China.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, October 07 2018. 14:45 IST