Japan: Vigor 19: US soldiers take on their Japanese counterparts

Image copyright Gett Image caption A picture taken from the nation’s broadcast satellite as troops step off from the port of Bashi, Masan, on the country’s north east coast

* Contained in a BBC News Travel article

by Peter Hughes

As part of a big BBC series aiming to map the world, the news organization is flying a crew out to Japan to follow soldiers training for military drills dubbed Vigor 19. The programme is due to start in Tokyo on 28 July.

Our crew is due to take the plane from Taipei in Taiwan to Fukuoka, in western Japan. From there we’ll fly on to Japan and cover preparations for the trials from at least 7 September.

A spot of rest could be had on the way to Sapporo in Hokkaido. The local population is decidedly anti-war, and the city is home to a huge peace camp.


The country’s national broadcaster NHK has described Vigor 19 as “frenetic action playing out in real time”.

Japan’s armed forces are well known for their penchant for dramatic, heroic displays. A training exercise for the last of the country’s three remaining air force squadrons is likely to produce a spectacular finish.

We’re expected to see some of Japan’s Top Gun pilots working side by side with Army Rangers and a Marine Corps Seabee Battalion.

NHK has been showing clips of the scenario live since June. In one, a fighter pilot is seen completing a manoeuvre with his opponent before they both start firing their missiles at the same time.

The media is hoping the latest exercise will form the basis for future training, including bombing runs and river crossings in real time. The military says it plans to fly at speeds between 100kmh (62mph) and 400kmh (250mph).


One of the hosts for a vast world exhibition in Dublin this week, the tour will take us further afield to Mexico City and Acapulco.

In both cities, we’ll get to see spectacular architecture during our days of sightseeing. But one familiar site to you will be on our radar.

Covidians and Scots will remember when the world’s tallest hotel – the 250-metre (820ft) Swissotel Excelsior – was built on its shores back in 1985. The Pan Pacific is the hotel’s new name and comes with an open-air pool.

Image copyright Phoenix Japan Image caption The new Pan Pacific – pictured – is housed in Mexico City

* Contained in a BBC News Travel article

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