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Feb 24, 2022 / 20:07

Japan training ships visit Vietnam

Back in 2007, the two sides agreed in the Joint Statement that they would exchange high-ranking visits and port calls.

A squadron of Destroyer Inazuma and JDS Hatakaze from the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) arrived at Tien Sa Port, Danang, Vietnam on Feb 24 for a three-day visit.

 Japan ships dock at Tien Sa Port, Danang, Vietnam on Feb 24. Photo: The Phong/VGP

This marks the first visit of foreign naval ships to Danang after two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Inazuma ship and Hatakaze corvette belong to the fleet of long-distance training ships with nearly 480 officers and sailors aboard, led by Colonel II Masaaki, commander of the 1st training ship unit.

The port call, whose agenda will cover discussions on joint maritime patrols, aims to promote mutual understanding between the Vietnam People’s Navy and JMSDF, and at the same time strengthen the bilateral defense cooperation relationship, according to the colonel.

Welcoming the ships are those from Vietnam’s Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Danang’s authorities as well as Yakabe Yoshinori, Consul General of Japan in Danang, Shimonishi Kyoshi, Deputy Consul General of Japan in Danang, Lieutenant Colonel Hamamoto Michinori, Deputy Defense Attache, the Embassy of Japan in Vietnam.

This is the fifth port visit to Danang paid by JMSDF following the trips in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2019. 

 Japan's officers arrive in Tien Sa Port, Danang. Photo: D.Nguyen/Zing News

Dr. Prashanth Parameswaran, a Senior Columnist at The Diplomat and a fellow at the Wilson Center’s Asia Program, said recent advances in the bilateral relationship “have included not just headline items such as periodic maritime security assistance, but significant moves including new naval drills, Japanese port calls, an agreement on coast guard cooperation, and discussions on more defense equipment and defense industrial collaboration.”

Vietnam and Japan have been boosting their defense ties as part of their broader extensive strategic partnership over the past few years in the course of perplexity in the South China Sea (called East Sea by Vietnam) where Beijing flexes military muscle.

Vietnam and Japan have also already been discussing prospects for collaboration on this front and attempting to better understand each side’s procurement and defense industrial capabilities.

The shape of cooperation in this sphere would include capacity-building and cooperation in familiar areas such as military medicine, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and peacekeeping.

 Japan officers at the welcoming ceremony on Feb 24. Photo: The Phong/VGP