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The German warship Bayern made a port call in Tokyo earlier this month after holding joint exercises with the Maritime Self-Defense Force in waters south of the nation’s capital.

The visit to Japan by the frigate, which began on Nov. 5, was the first for a German military vessel in some 20 years, and is part of a broader mission to show support for freedom of navigation and open societies in the Indo-Pacific region. On its return voyage, the warship plans to sail through the South China Sea where China has been making expansive claims and asserting its power.

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