UK State Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has announced that the Royal Navy will permanently deploy two offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) in the Indo-Pacific region.

The deployment will take place later in the year. The commitment was announced during Wallace’s two-day visit to Japan.

The secretary met the Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga and defence minister Nobuo Kishi.

The officials discussed the countries ties in defence and security and highlighted their common strategic interests.

During the visit, the two countries also announced their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and the region’s stability.

Over the next few years, the UK will also contribute a Littoral Response Group (LRG).

British Ambassador to Japan Julia Longbottom said: “The visit to Japan by senior members of the UK’s armed forces and the Secretary of State represents the ever-closer partnership between Japan and the UK and our commitment to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

“The UK is committed to working with Japan to support regional stability and to meet shared global challenges, such as cyber security, combatting global pandemics and ensuring the global systems that promote the free flow of trade and knowledge are strengthened and defended.”

The UK Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is currently on its inaugural deployment around the world.

Led by Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, the CSG is set to visit Japanese ports, namely Sasebo, Okinawa, Kure, Yokosuka, and Maizuru, in September.

Wallace said: “The UK’s defence relationship with Japan is the closest it has been in the last century.

“Following exercises with the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force in the Gulf of Aden and in the waters off Japan, the upcoming visit of the UK-led Carrier Strike Group to five ports across the country is a clear demonstration of our commitment to maintaining regional security and upholding the rules-based international order with Japan.”