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Japan’s MSDF conducts joint drill with NATO in Baltic Sea

Kyodo

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization said Wednesday it has conducted a joint exercise with personnel from the Maritime Self-Defense Force in the Baltic Sea.

The MSDF destroyer Makinami and training ship Kashima took part in the drill Tuesday along with vessels of NATO Maritime Group One, according to NATO.

The defense body also said it had conducted another joint maritime exercise with the MSDF off the coast of Spain earlier this month, to develop an understanding of mutual strategies and navigation procedures, adding that it is trying to make use of opportunities when ships of partner countries sail near the Atlantic.

As a NATO partner outside the region Tokyo is promoting security ties with the 29-member alliance, with Japan’s mission having been established in Brussels in July.

In October, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg visited the MSDF destroyer Teruzuki during his visit to the force’s Yokosuka base in Kanagawa Prefecture.

With Russia’s military presence in the Baltic Sea increasing in recent years NATO is considering conducting a large-scale military exercise at sea for the first time since 2002, in a show of force in Northern Europe.