In this Tuesday, May 27, 2014 photo, Japan's military flag, the Rising Sun Flag, flutters on the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force tank landing ship JS Kunisaki anchored in Yokosuka near Tokyo, ... more 
In this Tuesday, May 27, 2014 photo, Japan's military flag, the Rising Sun Flag, flutters on the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force tank landing ship JS Kunisaki anchored in Yokosuka near Tokyo, getting ready for participating in the Pacific Partnership 2014. China’s moves to assert its territorial claims in the South China Sea are giving fresh impetus to a Japanese push to play a bigger role in regional security, adding to the growing strains between the two Asian rivals. Japan is playing a larger role in a U.S.-led disaster relief exercise in Southeast Asia. The Kunisaki, is the lead vessel for the exercise for the first time. It departed the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka on Thursday, May 29, with 10 Australian and 130 U.S. troops aboard, headed for Vietnam, the Philippines and Cambodia. Seen at right is the guided missile destroyer USS Lassen. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara) less 
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Associated Press | Photo By Koji Sasahara
Thu, May 29, 2014 5:12 AM EDT