SDF hold joint drill with UK carrier strike group

Japan's Self-Defense Forces have held a joint exercise in the Pacific with a carrier strike group led by Britain's state-of-the-art aircraft carrier the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The group, joined by a US destroyer and a Dutch frigate, has been deployed in the Indian and Pacific oceans since May.

Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defense forces held the exercise with the group south of Okinawa on Tuesday. The drill was shown to media.

US and British F-35 stealth fighters took off from the Queen Elizabeth's ski ramp-like flight deck one after another.

Later, British helicopters and US Osprey transport aircraft landed on the Japanese destroyer Ise, in what is called cross-deck training.

The British government stressed its commitment to the Indo-Pacific region in a report released in March on its review of national security and foreign policies for the next decade.

The joint drill was aimed at underscoring multilateral partnership, mindful of China's growing presence in the East and South China seas.

Self-Defense Force Rear Admiral Konno Yasushige expressed hope that the drill would further strengthen their partnership to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to call at the US Navy's Yokosuka Base in Japan next month.