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.

What the $4.1 billion vessel’s former captain didn’t mention was that the visit marked almost exactly 100 years since another British naval mission landed in Japan — one that was commended for its purported achievements, but ultimately led to intelligence leaks that were at least in part to blame for Japan’s audacious attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.