Japan’s Self-Defense Forces participated in a Pacific joint drill with a carrier strike group led by the HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s state-of-the-art aircraft carrier. Since May, the group has been stationed in the Indian and Pacific oceans, joined by a US destroyer and a Dutch frigate.

On Tuesday, Ground, Maritime, and Air Self-Defense forces exercised with the group south of Okinawa. The drill was broadcast to the media.

F-35 stealth jets from the United States and the United Kingdom took off one by one from the Queen Elizabeth’s ski ramp-like flight deck.

Later, in what is known as cross-deck training, British helicopters and US Osprey transport aircraft landed on the Japanese warship Ise.

In a report released in March on its review of national security and foreign policy for the next decade, the British government emphasised its commitment to the Indo-Pacific area.

The joint practise was held to highlight multilateral cooperation in the face of China’s expanding presence in the East and South China Seas.

Rear Admiral Konno Yasushige of the Self-Defense Force expressed hope that the drill would deepen their relationship in achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The Queen Elizabeth will dock in Japan at the US Navy’s Yokosuka Base.

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