Mighty Japanese warship sails into Portsmouth on rare visit to Royal Navy HQ

A FORMIDABLE Japanese warship has steamed into Portsmouth on a rare trip to the home of the Royal Navy.

By Tom Cotterill
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 4:14 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 4:14 pm

Guided-missile destroyer Shimakaze arrived at Portsmouth Naval Base on Tuesday for a five-day visit.

It followed a recent meet up between the Royal Navy and Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force warships off the Dorset coast earlier this week.

Portsmouth-based patrol HMS Mersey and survey vessel HMS Enterprise linked up with Shimakaze and Japanese cadet training ship, Kashima, off Portland Bill.

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Guided-missile destroyer Shimakaze arrived at Portsmouth Naval Base on Tuesday for a five-day visit. Photo: @RNPics_

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The two Japanese ships are on an overseas training cruise, sailing half-way around the world, learn skills from other allied navies.

The duo have already worked with Britain’s biggest warship, aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, as she led Nato exercises off the Spanish coast.

Monday’s link-up focused on the ability to communicate and orchestrate the coordinated movements of the warships in close proximity.

Guided-missile destroyer Shimakaze arrived at Portsmouth Naval Base on Tuesday for a five-day visit. Photo: @RNPics_

The four ships had hoped to exchange sailors for the four hours of combined training for a brief taste of life aboard each other’s vessels, but bad weather ruled out the boat transfer.

‘It was a pleasure being able to train with the Japanese Self Defence Force as they operated in the UK waters,’ said Lieutenant Commander Nicholas Radue, HMS Mersey’s second in command.

‘Exercises like these not only provide excellent training opportunities for our respective fleets but also strengthen the bond between our two countries.

‘We wish the Japanese Self Defence Force fair winds and following seas in the rest of their deployment.’

Guided-missile destroyer Shimakaze arrived at Portsmouth Naval Base on Tuesday for a five-day visit. Photo: @RNPics_

A spokesman for the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force said the training cruise visit to the UK was a direct result of last year’s deployment of the UK carrier strike group to the Indo-Pacific, which saw flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth call on Yokosuka, near Tokyo.

‘Defence cooperation between Japan and the UK – which has a long history and tradition – evolved to a “new level” last year with the UK carrier strike group visiting Japan,’ he added.

‘Japan-UK defence cooperation contributes not only to the security of Japan, but to ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and the international community, as well as addressing global challenges.’