MSDF training vessel docks in London, marks 120th anniversary of Japan-U.K. alliance

The Yomiuri Shimbun
JS Kashima passes under Tower Bridge in London on Wednesday.

LONDON — The Maritime Self-Defense Force training vessel JS Kashima sailed up the Thames River in London and berthed near the Tower of London on Wednesday.

During its journey, the ship passed slowly under Tower Bridge. The bascules of the iconic landmark rose to allow the vessel through, to the delight of many photo-snapping onlookers.

JS Kashima and another MSDF training vessel, JS Shimakaze, departed Yokosuka Port in Kanagawa Prefecture in late April. Together, the two ships carry about 160 MSDF officers who graduated in spring from the force’s school for officer cadets. The vessels are scheduled to visit seven countries by late August.

It was the first time in six years for an MSDF training vessel to call at London. This latest visit echoes a stopover in Japan by the Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group last year.

“This year marks the 120th anniversary of the Japan-U.K. alliance.” said Shukaku Komuta, the training squadron’s commander. “I hope this visit will help deepen our friendly relations.”

JS Kashima, which will remain in London until Saturday, is scheduled to take part in a joint exercise with the Royal Navy.