US, Dutch naval vessels, fighter jets also join exercises
ANKARA (AA) – Japan and the UK held a joint naval drill in the Pacific Ocean, the Japanese Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.
The military drill was held on Tuesday and was also joined by the US and Dutch naval vessels accompanying the British navy’s strike group, Tokyo-based Kyodo News reported.
Such joint military exercises are seen as standing up to China’s increasing military and economic influence in the wider Asia-Pacific region.
It was the first time that the British Royal Navy’s largest warship, Queen Elizabeth, joined the Self-Defense Forces for military exercises held south of Japan’s fifth-largest island, Okinawa.
The British strike group had left the UK in May.
F-35B advanced stealth fighter and F-15 fighter jets also took part in the exercises.
Japanese Defense Ministry said it is mulling to deploy a total of 42 F-35B fighter jets to its base in Miyazaki province in the country’s southwest.
“It is essential to strengthen cooperation with countries that share universal values, regardless of geographical distance,” Japan’s Rear Adm. Yasushige Konno said.
He added: “At present, only the United States and Britain are deploying (the F-35B jets). It is very meaningful for us to be able to participate in a joint exercise and gather information.”