Maritime meet features navies from 17 countries

A four-day maritime meeting opened Wednesday in Tokyo featuring navies from 17 countries to exchange information and promote cooperation, the Maritime Self-Defense Force said.

The MSDF is sponsoring the biennial Western Pacific Naval Symposium to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the naval force’s inauguration.

Officers plan to discuss regional and global matters to promote mutual understanding and encourage regional confidence-building, the MSDF said.

The symposium at the Hotel New Otani is the eighth since it was launched in 1988.

The MSDF began participating in the symposium from its second meeting, held in 1990 in Bangkok. The MSDF sponsored the fifth meeting.

The 17 symposium members are Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Tonga, Vietnam and the United States. Canada, Chile, France and India are participating as observers.

The MSDF and some of the participants plan to jointly hold a naval review from Thursday to Monday in Tokyo Bay and a joint maritime rescue drill on Tuesday.