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Japan cancels international naval review amid typhoon havoc

File photo shows Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force has called off an international naval review after Typhoon Hagibis ripped through a wide area of the country, Defense Minister Taro Kono said Sunday.

    Kono suggested the need for Japan to focus on rescue and relief operations when he met the press to announce the decision over the fleet review that was scheduled for Monday in Sagami Bay, southwest of Tokyo, with the participation of seven countries.

    The review would have been the first since October 2015, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had planned to deliver an address on the MSDF helicopter carrier Izumo.

    China was supposed to take part for the first time in the naval event, reflecting a recent improvement in relations between Tokyo and Beijing.

    The other participating countries were Australia, Britain, Canada, India, Singapore and the United States.

    Japan did not invite South Korea, apparently due to escalating tensions between the two countries, including those between defense officials following Seoul's decision in August to end a bilateral military intelligence-sharing pact.

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