Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) ships conducted joint training exercises with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) ships in the Mediterranean Sea.

Italian Navy ITS Margottini (SNMG2 flagship) and Turkish Navy TCG Salihreis met the two Japanese ships, JS Kashima and JS Shimakaze, during their transit in the Mediterranean Sea while conducting the 66th edition of the Overseas Training Cruise. Kashima and Shimakaze departed Japan on April 24.

The newly commissioned Japanese officers had the opportunity to interact with the NATO units and conduct training activities, including a maneuvering exercise. A personnel exchange allowed NATO crew members to embark the Japanese ships and vice versa. The exchanges gave all participants insight into the way NATO and Japan operate at sea and fostered understanding and interoperability between the units.

Commander of the Training Squadron JMSDF Rear Admiral Shukaku Komuta welcomed Commander, SNMG2 Italian Navy Rear Admiral Mauro Panebianco aboard Kashima remarking Japan’s pleasure to strengthen its partnership with NATO. Panebianco met the young officers to wish them the best for their careers.

“The interaction of today is a great opportunity to strengthen our cooperation and partnership,” Panebianco said. “We share many of the core values of your Navy – that is why our cooperation is mutually beneficial. Japan is one of a number of countries beyond the Euro-Atlantic area with which NATO is developing relations.”

Following the interaction, the two Japanese ships resumed their worldwide cruise that is scheduled to end in August. Margottini and Salihreis resumed their activities in the Mediterranean Sea providing a strong international presence and maintaining a high level of readiness to keep peace and preserve security on the high seas.