HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group will visit Japan this weekend, the Ministry of Defence have announced.
The UK Government say that the visit will be a powerful demonstration of the UK’s close and enduring partnership with Japan and the UK’s commitment to maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region. A statement reads:
“The visit is part of the maiden operational deployment of HMS Queen Elizabeth. The period in and around Japan will reinforce the UK’s commitment to a resilient international order in which open societies based on shared values grow prosperity and champion free trade. The visit is also an important component of the UK’s renewed focus on the Indo-Pacific, outlined in the Integrated Review. The UK is committed to advancing security, defence and development cooperation with Japan, on the basis of a shared outlook on freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, as well as free trade.”
UK Ambassador to Japan, Julia Longbottom said:
“The visit to Japan of HMS Queen Elizabeth and other UK vessels of the Carrier Strike Group is a confident embodiment of the close and deepening relationship between the UK and Japan.
The UK is committed to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and as a like-minded democracy is committed to working with Japan to meet shared global challenges, such as cyber security and climate change, and to ensure the global systems that promote the free flow of trade and knowledge are strengthened.
The UK-Japan relationship has a long history. We believe this visit marks the elevation of our defence and security relationship to a new level.”
The Ministry of Defence add that CSG21 will continue with a programme of bilateral maritime and air exercises with Japan’s Self Defence Forces over the next few weeks. Royal Navy ships from the CSG21, HMS Kent and HMS Richmond, also visited the Japanese port of Sasebo last month.
UK Defence Attaché to Japan, Captain Simon Staley said:
“The Carrier Strike Group’s deployment to Japan and the Indo-Pacific as part of its maiden operational voyage demonstrates the UK’s commitment to work with Japan, our closest security partner in Asia. To operate alongside the JSDF in exercises covering surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare and air warfare, we have pushed our partnership to a new level. In demonstrating our maritime capability and ambition we can work further with Japan in developing equipment together in the future.”
As part of its maiden operational deployment, the Ministry of Defence say that HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group will sail over 26,000 nautical miles, engaging with 40 countries from the Mediterranean to the Indo-Pacific and back again.
“This deployment will provide tangible reassurance and security to our friends and a credible deterrence to those who seek to undermine global security.”
The group comprises nine ships, 32 aircraft and one submarine and is manned by 3,700 sailors, aviators and marines from the combined forces of the UK, US and the Netherlands.