The US Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) have completed a bilateral maritime exercise to bolster security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

The exercise was held between 24 October and 2 November and involved the US Navy’s Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and JMSDF’s Escort Division 12.

During the exercise, the navies engaged in a series of drills that helped to increase interoperability.

Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 commander captain Steve DeMoss said: “Conducting bilateral exercise with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force enables both navies to continue to strengthen the unique and seamless integration of our forces.

“Bonded by our shared interests, shared values and a commitment to freedom of the seas, the JMSDF and forward-deployed US naval forces work together regularly to promote security and stability throughout the Indo-Pacific region.”

The US Navy stated that the two maritime forces focused their naval officer exchanges on sea combat watch standing integration.

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Watchstanders from the US Navy and JMSDF coordinated with each other in manoeuvring operations and tactical battle exercises.

DeMoss, Task Force 70 commander rear admiral George Wikoff, and JS Fuyuzuki (DD 118) commanding officer Shusuke Kitaguchi discussed the continued integration of their units.

JMSDF Escort Division 12 commander captain Kimihiro Ichiyanagi said: “Continual, regularly-based, bilateral exercises between the US Navy and the JMSDF contribute to enhanced tactical skills and interoperability with each other.

“In addition to the force and staff level accomplishments, I believe our synchronised bilateral activities at sea also help us to promote and maintain an open and stable Indo-Pacific region.”

Assets that took part in the exercise included the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Fuyuzuki, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam (CG 54) and USS Chancellorsville (CG 62).