Three Maritime Self-Defense Force training ships plan to make a port visit in Myanmar in early October, sources said.
Japan apparently intends to use the port visit to deepen relations with Myanmar as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe work to boost Japan’s presence in Southeast Asia at a time when the Chinese navy is being increasingly assertive with its maritime activity in the Western Pacific.
The voyage is part of the MSDF’s training regime for graduates of the Maritime Officer Candidate School, which has been conducting such activities since 1957.
Under this year’s program, the three vessels, including the Kashima, will leave Tokyo Wednesday and visit Myanmar and 17 other countries over some five months through Oct. 31. About 730 people, mainly MSDF graduates, will be aboard the ships.