Japan hosts multinational drills to intercept weapons at sea

Japan hosts multinational drills to intercept weapons at sea
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's Maritime Interception Team boards a rigid-hulled inflatable boat to inspect a mock suspicious ship during the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) "Pacific Shield 18" in the waters off Boso Peninsula, southeast of Tokyo, Wednesday, July 25, 2018. Japan is hosting a multinational exercise with their counterparts from U.S. and Australia, as well as South Korean coast guard aimed at intercepting missiles and other weapons of mass destruction at sea. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

ABOARD THE MURASAME (AP) — Japan is hosting a multinational security exercise off Tokyo’s southern coast aimed at intercepting shipments of missiles and other weapons of mass destruction at sea.

Japanese navy sailors and their counterparts from the U.S. and Australia and the South Korean coast guard joined Wednesday’s exercise.

Participants took turns stopping and raiding a target boat found at sea. Journalists observed from the Japanese destroyer Murasame.

Thirty countries, including six core members of the Proliferation Security Initiative participated, along with 20 observers and four non-members.

The initiative started in 2003 as part of Washington’s effort to block shipments of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as missiles to carry them.

The initiative does not target any specific country, but North Korea has criticized it in the past.