Japan will send one of its two Izumo-class helicopter carriers on a two month-long tour of the South China Sea and Indian Ocean for the second straight year as the country aims to bolster international co-operation in safeguarding key sea lanes in the Indo-Pacific region, a Japanese official told Jane’s on 6 June.
Starting in September JS Kaga (DDH 184) will make stops in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines and at ports in India and Sri Lanka. The ship will also make a port call at Singapore’s Changi Naval Base at around the same time as the 12th ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) and the 5th ADMM-Plus meeting are scheduled to be held there (18-20 October).
“This is part of Japan’s efforts to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific strategy,” the official said. “For maritime security Japan is focusing on capacity building assistance to Southeast Asia and on what we call ‘strategic messaging,’ which appeals to the rule of law for securing free and open seas,” the official added.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force sent out Kaga ’s sister ship, JS Izumo (DDH 183), on a similar tour last year.
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