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Lead-gray clouds gathered over Yokosuka naval base on Sept. 6 as Nobuo Kishi, Japan’s defense minister, took a tour of the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, deployed by the British Navy as part of multinational operations to crank up security in the region amid rising tensions with China.

The purpose of the deployment was to “signal the start of a commitment” to a region whose “prominence … is rising significantly,” Commodore Steve Moorhouse said during a briefing on the deck of the ship as 18 F-35B stealth fighters, whose short takeoffs and vertical landings were discussed during Kishi’s inspection, sat on display in a line behind him.

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