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NO.10
 
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SPECIAL FEATURE

MSDF Vessel Makes First Visit to China

The MSDF destroyer Sazanami made a port call at Zhanjiang in China’s Guangdong Province on June 24. This was the first visit to China by an MSDF vessel, marking a major historic step in bilateral defense exchange.


Zhanjiang residents were invited on board the Sazanami. (Aflo)
Zhanjiang residents were invited on board the Sazanami. (Aflo)

The visit was realized based on agreements made in a meeting last August between then Defense Minister Masahiko Koumura and then National Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan, the bilateral summit meeting during Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda’s visit to China in December, and the summit meeting in May this year.
    The visit was a response to the port call made by the Chinese guided missile destroyer Shenzhen to Japan in November last year. Sazanami carried blankets, emergency foodstuffs, and other relief supplies as gifts to the victims of the May 12 Sichuan earthquake.
    During the five-day stay, the crew members of the Sazanami engaged in a variety of exchange activities with the members of the Shenzhen crew, including sporting events, mutual ship tours, and a joint concert of the military bands. Zhanjiang citizens were also invited on board to make a tour of the Sazanami.
    Minister Ishiba commented that the visit by the Sazanami has benefits not only for Japan and China but also for the peace and stability of the region by deepening a mutual understanding with China—a very important neighbor—in the defense field and reinforcing a relationship of trust. He also expressed his intention to actively promote a variety of defense exchange activities at diverse levels and in multiple fields.
 

The ceremony marking the handing over of relief supplies for earthquake victims.
The ceremony marking the handing over of relief supplies for earthquake victims.
Crew members of the Sazanami and Shenzhen pose after a friendly game of soccer.
Crew members of the Sazanami and Shenzhen pose after a friendly game of soccer.

Recent Japan-China Defense Exchange

August 2007 Visit to Japan by National Defense Minister Cao (for bilateral Defense Ministerial Meeting)
September 2007 Participation as an observer in the China-hosted military exercise Warrior-2007
November 2007 Visit to Japan by Chinese guided missile destroyer Shenzhen
December 2007 Visit to China by Prime Minister Fukuda
February 2008 Visit to China by Chief of the Joint Staff Takashi Saito
March 2008 Visit to China by Vice Defense Minister Kohei Masuda
May 2008 Visit to Japan by Chinese President Hu Jintao (for bilateral summit meeting)
June 2008 Visit to China by MSDF destroyer Sazanami