Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship arrives in London

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's Training Squadron vessel Kashima has made a port call in London.

Kashima, with 340 crew members aboard, is currently on an ocean voyage training program that began in April. The port call is part of an exchange event between Japan and Britain as the two countries commemorate the 120th anniversary of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance this year.

Kashima is expected to take part in a planned exercise with Britain's Royal Navy.

JMSDF Training Squadron Commander Komuta Shukaku stressed the need for Japan to cooperate with Britain for a free and open Indo-Pacific.

He said the two countries need to have more opportunities to hold exercises as their bilateral defense cooperation has been deepening in recent years.

Britain expressed its commitment to the Indo-Pacific region in diplomatic and security policies announced in March 2021.

Its aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth made a port call at the US naval base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, last September.

Japan and Britain also agreed in principle in May on a pact that would facilitate bilateral defense cooperation. Part of its aim is to make it easier to organize joint drills between Japan's Self-Defense Forces and the British military.

Kashima is expected to stay in Britain until Saturday. Officials of the two countries are also expected to discuss defense cooperation between them.