By AUDREY McAVOY
KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (AP) - Japan is practicing storming beaches with the U.S. at the world's largest maritime exercises.
Helicopters dropped a reconnaissance team of Japanese soldiers into the ocean off a Hawaii beach during Rim of the Pacific exercises on Tuesday.
The soldiers climbed aboard inflatable rafts and inspected the shoreline before waves of U.S., Australian and Indonesian marines followed in amphibious vehicles.
Japan has been buying amphibious landing craft and boosting its amphibious training for potential conflicts on islands.
In particular, it's concerned about uninhabited small islands in the East China Sea that it controls but that China claims.
Pacific Forum Executive Director Brad Glosserman says there's fear in Japan that China will attempt to land forces on the islands and Japan will need to repel them.