The United States and Japan conducted joint air drills Saturday involving fighter jets in the airspace over the East China Sea northwest of Japan's southern island of Kyushu, the Defense Ministry said.

The bilateral exercise conducted by the Japan Self-Defense Forces and U.S. Armed Forces was held in response to increasing provocative actions by North Korea including its repeated launches of ballistic missiles, and is intended to show the close level of cooperation between the two allies, it said.

Photo shows Japanese and U.S. aircraft taking part in a joint exercise over the East China Sea northwest of Kyushu on Nov. 5, 2022. (Photo courtesy of the Japanese Defense Ministry's Joint Staff Office)(Kyodo)

The aircraft involved in the drills were five F-2 fighter jets from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, and two B-1B strategic bombers and two F-16 fighters from the United States, according to the ministry.

Japanese and U.S. forces conducted an air exercise on Oct. 4, the same day North Korea launched a missile that flew over the northern part of Japan's main island of Honshu.

Related coverage:

North Korea fires 4 short-range ballistic missiles off its west coast

U.N. Security Council remains split over North Korea missiles issue

Japan, U.S., South Korea condemn North Korea after launch of suspected ICBM