Royal Navy accepts its first Japanese officer into prestigious mine warfare course in Fareham

A JAPANESE naval officer has become the first from his nation to join a prestigious Royal Navy warfare course as political links between Britain and Japan strengthen.

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 4:55 am

Lieutenant Commander Noriaki Mukaigawa of the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force has joined the advanced mine warfare course at HMS Collingwood in Fareham.

Speaking of the move, a spokeswoman for the Royal Navy said: ‘Following negotiations to ensure correct clearances were in place and several false starts due to the global pandemic, he is the first Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) student to attend this course.’

Captain Jordan said: ‘We are delighted to have Lt Cdr Noriaki Mukaigawa on course and it is a great opportunity for other students and the RN to learn from his experiences and career.’

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Lieutenant Commander Noriaki Mukaigawa from the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force, left, pictured with Captain Catherine Jordan, commanding officer at HMS Collingwood, as he became the first Japanese naval officer to join a mine warfare course at the Fareham naval establishment. Photo: Royal Navy

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Captain Catherine Jordan, Collingwood’s commanding officer, said: ‘We are delighted to have Lt Cdr Noriaki Mukaigawa on course and it is a great opportunity for other students and the RN to learn from his experiences and career.’

Lt Cdr Mukaigawa has previously served aboard a Japanese destroyer in which he carried out anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and humanitarian relief following the deadly Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami which killed at least 20,000 people.

In March 2017 he was appointed the skipper of the minesweeper MSC 690 Miyajima and was JMSDF’s youngest commanding officer.

Speaking of joining the minewarfare course at Collingwood, Lt Cdr Mukaigawa said: ‘I am so proud that I am able to participate in the course as the first Japanese naval officer and I believe this will enhance our interoperability and mutual understanding.’

The Japanese officer’s training comes ahead of an expected visit to Japan by HMS Queen Elizabeth and her carrier strike group in the summer.

The 65,000-tonne warship departed Portsmouth last month on her maiden operational mission, which will see her travel 26,000 miles to the Far East and back over 28 weeks.

The deployment is part of the UK government’s strategic ‘tilt’ towards the Indo-Pacific, which will see Britain forging closer alliances with countries in the Far East.

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