US Navy aircraft carrier hosts Japan’s defense minister

Japan’s defense minister visited together with the country’s navy chiefs the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) at the American Navy outpost in Yokosuka on August 23.

Minister of Defense Tomomi Inada, Adm. Tomohisa Takei, Vice Adm. Yasuhiro Shigeoka and Vice Adm. Tetsuro Doshita were welcomed aboard by the Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, the U.S. 7th Fleet commander, Rear Adm. Matthew Carter, the U.S. Naval Forces Japan commander, Rear Adm. Charles Williams, commander, Task Force 70, and Capt. Buzz Donnelly, Ronald Reagan’s commanding officer.

“It was an honor to meet Defense Minister Inada and discuss how strong and important the relationship is between US 7th Fleet and JMSDF (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force),” said Aucoin. “This relationship is key to security and stability, not only for the defense of Japan, but also for the region, and I look forward to continuing to grow our interoperability to increase our readiness and effectiveness.”

The visit included an office call, briefing, and tour aboard America’s flagship.

“We are very pleased that Minister Inada made Fleet Activities Yokosuka and USS Ronald Reagan her first visit to U.S. forces in Japan as defense minister,” said Carter. “She understands the vital role the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and the U.S. Navy play in providing security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, and we look forward to working with her over the next couple of years.”

The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group recently returned from 53 days of strike group operations in the western Pacific, including the waters south of Japan, the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea.

After returning to Yokosuka, Ronald Reagan and her crew completed an inspection of all the ship’s systems to ensure it is able to conduct sustained operations at sea now and for the remainder of its service life. Ronald Reagan provides a combat-ready force, which protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.