Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Mark Hammond visited Japan for high-level talks at Japan’s Ministry of Defense and attended official events that marked the 70th anniversary of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).
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According to Vice Admiral Hammond, the high-level talks at Japan’s Ministry of Defense in the Tokyo metropolis of Shinjuku have been on promoting stability in the region.
“The discussions that I have had here with the Chief of Navy, Japanese Chief of the Defense Force and Deputy Minister for Defense have all been warm.”
“They have all been focused on partnering together to advance peace and prosperity across the Indo-Pacific,” Vice Admiral Hammond said.
The relationship between the Royal Australian Navy and its Japanese counterpart has been described by Vice Admiral Hammond as ‘close and strong’.
“That relationship is just getting stronger and deeper.”
“For example, our ships have spent more than 40 days operating together in the last couple of months,” Vice Admiral Hammond added.
Japanese Ship Kirisame, which participated in Exercise Kakadu in northern Australia in September, is currently hosting HMAS Arunta, the Vice Admiral Hammond noted, at the JMSDF Sasebo Naval Base in the southern island of Kyushu.
Almost 700 Australian sailors and officers accompanied Vice Admiral Hammond in Japan for the the JMSDF anniversary.
“This is a significant and historic event for the JMSDF and we are proud to partner with them to commemorate their rich history and our strategic relationship with one of the most capable navies in the region,” he said.
Tens of thousands of spectators lined the streets for the spectacle which included personnel from HMA Ships Hobart, Stalwart and Farncomb.
Vice Admiral Hammond joined Commander of the US 7th Fleet, Vice Admiral Karl Thomas, and other VIPs to review marching contingents from Japan and the Indo-Pacific region.
“To witness the welcome we received from the people of Japan, it’s been heart-warming.”
“It is just remarkable to be on parade with our Japanese and US partners, and a whole bunch of other navies from across the region,” Vice Admiral Hammond said.