Japan defense chief inspects U.K. aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth
Written by tokyoclub on September 6, 2021
Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi on Monday inspected the British aircraft carrier the Queen Elizabeth in Japan at the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka, southwest of Tokyo.
Kishi’s visit to the ship is intended to demonstrate the robust ties between the two nations as Tokyo and London deepen their defense cooperation in response to China’s military buildup and assertive territorial claims.
Photo taken from Kyodo News helicopter shows British aircraft carrier the Queen Elizabeth sailing in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 4, 2021, before arriving at the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka, southwest of Tokyo, to make its first port call in Japan. (Kyodo)
Britain has been stepping up its engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, partly propelled by Beijing’s action to undermine democracy and human rights in Hong Kong, a former British colony.
The British Carrier Strike Group led by the vessel is making its first port call in Japan.
Since Thursday, the strike group has been conducting joint exercises with the Self-Defense Forces, as well as vessels from the United States, the Netherlands and Canada in a veiled counter to China’s rising assertiveness in the East and South China seas.
The strike group, which left Britain in May and arrived in Japan on Saturday, is scheduled to leave the base later this week.
The Queen Elizabeth is Britain’s largest aircraft carrier capable of carrying up to 40 aircraft, including British and U.S. F-35B advanced stealth fighter jets, according to the Royal Navy.
It was commissioned in 2017 with state-of-the-art weaponry.