A New Page for the Japan-UK Defense Cooperation

This is a column on an exchange of officers between Japan and the UK during the international disaster relief activity in the Philippines last year.

During their respective nation's response to Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, the Royal Navy and JMSDF were able to achieve a unique exchange of officers. Lieutenant Commander Joe Currin had the good fortune to embark in JS DDH ISE and witness the Joint task Force Staff operating near Tacloban, while Captain Tanaka joined HMS ILLUSTRIOUS to the west, off Roxas City. Notwithstanding the unfortunate circumstances that brought the two navies together, it was a valuable opportunity to exchange ideas - both on humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations, and the introduction into service and potential employment of new carrier aviation capabilities. There is close alignment in Japan and Britain's commitment to ensuring security and prosperity on the high seas and the vital contribution offered by our Navies and Naval Air Power, close to home and overseas. The dividend of interoperability between coalition partners is mutually understood, and a shared aspiration. For HMS ILLUSTRIOUS it was a rare venture into eastern seas but reassuringly the observations of the exchange officers revealed that we still have much in common: in our doctrine; our procedures, and (perhaps less edifying) in the manpower and fiscal challenges of operating modern World-class navies. According to Lt Cdr Currin, 'It is clear that tradition and protocol are an important part of the JMSDF and they draw close parallels to the RN. I was well hosted during my time in ISE and the exchange has reinforced our similarities in terms of ethos and doctrine.'

* This column is originally provided by the UK Ministry of Defence. The JMOD titles the column and releases it online by permission of the UKMOD.

LCDR Currin briefing for JSDF staff on JS ISE

LCDR Currin on JS ISE

LCDR Currin attending the meeting on JS ISE

CAPT Tanaka's arrival on UK HMS ILLUSTRIOUS