Japan's Defense Ministry said Tuesday that joint military drills scheduled between Japan and the United States had been canceled due to a budget standoff that the US Congress has yet to resolve.
According to local media, Japan's Ground Self-Defense Forces ( GSDF) were scheduled to take part in joint military training exercises with US Army personnel between Oct. 15 and 28 at the Ojojihara Maneuver Area in Miyagi prefecture.
Around 1,000 personal were due to take part in the training exercises, which were to involve live fire and drills to prepare for chemical, biological nuclear attacks with divisions specialized in these areas from both sides aiming to boost their organization and preparedness for such occurrences, local media reports said.
Officials from Japan's GSDF said that they were informed by officials from the US Army that the drills would be canceled due to the budget standoff in Washington.
The defense ministry here said that it hoped further joint exercises would go ahead as scheduled and not be impacted by the budget impasse.
The Ojojihara Maneuver Area has often been utilized for joint drills between Japan and the United States, including for combat readiness of Marines and for live fire and small arms training.
Such training exercises are held as part of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.
The defense ministry voiced its concern on Tuesday that the partial federal shutdown in the United States -- as President Barack Obama and Congress remain at loggerheads over the world's largest economy's debt ceiling -- could affect future joint exercises.
The level of concern has been raised by the International Monetary Fund's head, Christine Lagarde, referring to the impasse as critical and warning the United States that if it fails to raise its debt ceiling before it defaults on Oct. 17 then a global financial crisis worse than that seen in 2008 could be triggered.