German navy frigate makes port call in Tokyo

A German navy frigate, the Bayern, has arrived at a port in Tokyo. The ship is on a mission to the Indo-Pacific region.

The frigate left Germany in August. It conducted joint exercises with Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force in the Pacific and other places before arriving at the Tokyo International Cruise Terminal on Friday afternoon.

The German Navy says the Bayern will stay in Tokyo through next Friday before taking part in joint drills that will involve 20 vessels from five countries including Japan and the United States.

General Eberhard Zorn, the Inspector General of the German Armed Forces, said the Indo-Pacific region is one of the most strategically important areas.

He stressed the importance of enhancing cooperation with Japan, saying it will contribute to keeping the maritime transportation route in the region free and open.

Japan's Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo inspected the frigate on Friday.

Kishi told reporters after the inspection that the Bayern is the first German naval vessel to make a port call in Japan in about 20 years.

He said he welcomes the visit, saying it demonstrates to the international community Germany's strong determination to actively contribute to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Kishi said Japan and Germany are partners sharing basic values.

He said defense cooperation between the two countries is the foundation for maintaining and strengthening a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Kishi said he wants to further develop the cooperation, building on the port call.

Last year, Germany came up with guidelines on diplomacy and security in the Indo-Pacific region. The country has adopted a policy to strengthen ties with countries, including Japan, amid growing concerns over China's maritime activities.