NATO, Japan conduct passing exercise in Baltic Sea

A Japanese Kongo-class destroyer, in the back center, is similar to the U.S. Arleigh Burke-class and carries a close model of the AEGIS air defense system. Japanese and NATO forces participated in an exercise earlier this week. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Raymond D. Diaz III/U.S. Navy

Aug. 24 (UPI) — NATO Maritime Group One this week participated in a Passing Exercise with a Japan Maritime Self Defense Force squadron that is currently sailing in the Baltic Sea.

SNMG1 on Tuesday operated with the JMSDF cadet training vessel JS Kashima and the destroyer JS Makinami, NATO announced. The NATO group is composed of Standing NATO Maritime Group One.

“Even though Japan and most NATO nations are geographically far apart, we are connected by the sea,” Commodore Carsten Fjord-Larsen, commander of NATO task force SNMG1, said in a statement.

“We also share a strong interest in always making the most of training opportunities with partner nations when meeting up at sea. And I’m proud to say that, this is exactly what we have been doing today,” Fjord-Larsen said.

“Together with selected members from my staff, I had the great honor to visit JS Kashima and enjoyed the possibility to exchange views on the world seen from the sea with the Commander of the Japanese Training Squadron, Rear Admiral Hiroyuki Izumi.” Fjord-Larsen.said.

Japan is one of NATO’s longest standing allies outside of the United States and Europe. The Baltics are currently a flashpoint due to Russia’s aggressive activities in the region. Both Russia and NATO have been launching large military exercises in the region.


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