Japan to hold first exercises with British aircraft carrier off Africa


TOKYO – Japan will hold joint exercises with the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time in waters off the coast of the Horn of Africa, possibly next week, Japan’s Minister of Defense said on Friday. Defense Nobuo Kishi.

The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force will partner with the British Carrier Strike Group for exercises in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia, ahead of a planned stopover in Japan this summer. The naval forces of the United States and the Netherlands accompanying the attack group are also expected to join us.

The focus will be on anti-piracy exercises, with destroyers involved in anti-piracy operations in the area expected to participate on the Japanese side.

“We will take up the global hacking security challenge with the UK,” Kishi said. “We will show that we have the will and the capacity to ensure safe maritime transit.”

Commissioned in 2017 and the UK’s largest aircraft carrier, the Queen Elizabeth carries state-of-the-art F-35B stealth fighters. The strike group departed in May for a long-term deployment to the Pacific region.

The UK’s largest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is now heading to the Pacific for long-term deployment. © Getty Images / Kyodo

Japan and the UK agreed on the joint exercises at a “two plus two” meeting of senior defense and diplomacy officials in February. The upcoming exercises are expected to be the first of many during Queen Elizabeth’s stay in the region.

In addition to Japan, the carrier is expected to make stops in India, Singapore and South Korea. It is planned to re-engage in joint exercises with Japan at the time of its stopover there, demonstrating the unity between two values-sharing countries in the face of Beijing’s active military presence in the East China Seas and southern.

The UK, the former colonial ruler of Hong Kong, has soured against China amid Beijing’s crackdown under the Homeland Security Act, in addition to concerns about its early handling of the coronavirus epidemic and alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang. The deployment to the Pacific aims to demonstrate its commitment to regional security.

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