This week, NATO vessels from Italy and Turkey conducted training exercises with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Italian Navy’s Carlo Bergamini-class frigate ITS Margottini and the Turkish Navy’s Barbaros-class frigate TCG Salihreis, both assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group Two, met with the JS Kashima and JS Shimakaze, during their transit in the Mediterranean Sea while conducting the 66th edition of the Overseas Training Cruise.
The vessels Kashima and Shimakaze departed Japan on 24 April.
The newly commissioned Japanese officers interacted with the NATO units and conducted training activities, including a maneuvering exercise. A personnel exchange allowed NATO crew members to embark on the Japanese ships and vice versa.
Following the interaction, the two Japanese ships resumed their worldwide cruise that is scheduled to end in August.
The warships Margottini and Salihreis resumed their activities in the Mediterranean Sea.
“The interaction of today is a great opportunity to strengthen our cooperation and partnership,” SNMG2 Italian Navy Rear Admiral Mauro Panebianco said.
“We share many of the core values of your Navy – that is why our cooperation is mutually beneficial. Japan is one of a number of countries beyond the Euro-Atlantic area with which NATO is developing relations.”
Cooperation between NATO and Japan has grown broader and deeper over the years, including in the areas of maritime security, cyber defence, and non-proliferation.
Last month, the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales left Portsmouth bound for exercises in the Atlantic and Mediterranean serving as NATO’s command ship.
NATO vessels are also currently conducting the largest naval exercise in the Baltic Sea, BALTOPS 22. This year’s drill is also marked with the participation of two countries, Finland and Sweden.