Canada Navy pursues closer ties with Japan

Canadian sailors salute at the opening of a reception on HMCS Ottawa at Harumi Wharf in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, on Thursday evening.

Canada’s Navy and Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force should strengthen cooperation in light of the countries’ shared values, Deputy Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, Rear Adm. Gilles Couturier said Thursday.

Couturier was speaking at a reception on a Canadian Navy vessel in a Tokyo port to mark the visit of two Canadian Navy frigates.

At dusk, Canadian sailors and MSDF personnel packed the deck of the HMCS Ottawa, which served as the reception venue. That ship and the HMCS Winnipeg had been deployed in the Indo-Asia Pacific region since March, and both vessels are currently calling at Harumi Wharf in Chuo Ward, Tokyo.

In a welcome speech, Canadian Ambassador to Japan Ian Burney emphasized both nations’ respect for democracy, human rights, free trade and other liberal values. “Against the backdrop of an increasingly troubled global environment, I think it has never been more important for the two countries to come together,” Burney said.

Couturier expressed similar thoughts. “Canada and Japan share the same values,” the deputy commander said. Addressing participants from the MSDF, he said, “We are very much looking forward to doing more with you.”

In his speech, MSDF Chief of Staff Adm. Yutaka Murakawa recalled participating in a joint exercise with a Canadian Navy vessel 35 years ago. He said the partnership between the MSDF and the Canadian Navy “has grown tremendously.”

For their current deployment, the two Canadian vessels have sailed around the Indo-Asia Pacific region, including Guam, the Philippines, Malaysia, India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, China and South Korea. The ships also participated in joint exercises with MSDF vessels.

“We hail the Royal Canadian Navy for its increasing engagement in the [Indo-Asia Pacific] region to ensure maritime security,” Murakawa added.

The two frigates’ current visit to Japan is the 31st by Canadian Navy vessels, according to the MSDF.

Source: The Japan News.

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