Library image of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces destroyer JS Shimakaze (Picture: US Navy Photo/Alamy Stock Photo).
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Royal Navy teams up with Japanese allies off Dorset coast

HMS Mersey and HMS Enterprise linked up with Japanese vessels off Portland Bill.

Library image of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces destroyer JS Shimakaze (Picture: US Navy Photo/Alamy Stock Photo).

The Royal Navy has teamed up with Japanese allies off the Dorset coast as the two nations reaffirmed their friendship.

Patrol ship HMS Mersey and survey vessel HMS Enterprise linked up with Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force ships Kashima and general-purpose destroyer Shimakaze off Portland Bill.

The aim was to communicate and carry out co-ordinated movements of the vessels when close together.

Plans to exchange sailors were spoiled by bad weather.

The Japanese ships are sailing half-way around the world to train with other navies, as part of Overseas Training Cruise 2022, the Royal Navy said.

They previously worked with personnel on HMS Prince of Wales amid NATO exercises off Spain's shores.

Lieutenant Commander Nicholas Radue, HMS Mersey's Executive Officer, said: "It was a pleasure being able to train with the Japanese Self Defence Force as they operated in the UK waters.

"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," he added.

A spokesman for the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force said: "Defence co-operation 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."

The Shimakaze has arrived in Portsmouth for a five-day visit, while the Kashima sits on the Thames alongside HMS Belfast and opposite the Tower of London between Wednesday and Saturday.

The pair will meet up with the Royal Navy again for more exercises, with HMS Severn at the weekend, the Navy added.