Commander in Chief of Self Defense Fleet conducted a joint press conference with U.S, Australia, Canada in conjunction with the JMSDF Annual Exercise 23.

On November 11, Vice Admiral SAITO Akira, Commander in Chief, Self Defense Fleet, together with Vice Admiral Karl Thomas, Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Commodore Michael Harris, Director General Maritime Operations, Royal Australian Navy, and Captain Robert Watt, Canadian Defense Attaché to Japan, conducted a multilateral press conference on USS Carl Vinson, a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean and announced that JMSDF Annual Exercise 23 has started successfully.
At the press conference, Vice Admiral SAITO said, “In this exercise, we will conduct a high-end exercise and practice tactical decision making of each level commanding officers, which enhance the JMSDF’s mission operating capability. We will also increase our bilateral response capability and interoperability with the U.S. Navy as well as promote cooperation with the Australian and Canadian Forces and the Philippine Navy. The relation between the JMSDF and the U.S. Navy is much more unwavering than ever before and it plays an important role not only in enhancing the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. Alliance but also in building up global cooperation. As maritime security threats including attempts to change the status quo by force are increasing, reinforcement of the cooperation among navies is critically important for the stability of the Indo-Pacific region and the peace and stability of the world. The Self Defense Fleet will continue working closely with the U.S. Seventh Fleet in responding to any kinds of contingencies and strengthen cooperation with other like-minded armed forces including Navies and Air Forces of Australia and Canada and the Philippine Navy in order to defend Japan, ensure the regional peace and stability, and realize a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”
The JMSDF Annual Exercise 23 is the biggest practical exercise conducted since 1954.
Also, Vice Admiral Thomas said, “It’s a privilege to be with you today to kick-off Annual Exercise 23. We’re operating together because we share a common vision of a rules-based international order that benefits all nations and ensures peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. The U.S. Navy will deepen our interoperability through the exercise.”
In this exercise, we will conduct a more practical and tactical exercise including ASWEX and B-JOASO with a total of about 30 ships and more than 40 aircraft participating from the JMSDF, the U.S. Navy, Australian forces, and Canadian forces.
Commodore Harris said, “The Royal Australian Navy is very pleased to again join with our regional allies and partners for the Annual Exercise to deepen our longstanding relationships, further enhance our ability to operate together and to support our region’s security and prosperity. The Annual Exercise will demonstrate Australia’s resolve for a stable, peaceful, resilient and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”
The U.S, the Royal Canadian Navy, and the Royal Australian Navy have been participating in this exercise since 1981, 2017, and 2019 respectively. This time, the Philippine Navy took part in the exercise as an observer for the first time.
“Canada is a Pacific nation, and we are proud to work with our neighbours through our consistent deployments in the region. Major exercises like Annual Exercise sharpen our collective skills, while forging a trust that can only be built at sea. Together with our partners, we will continue to build a free and open Indo-Pacific.” said Captain Watt.
In addition, the USS Carl Vinson showed the press the takeoff and landing of the F-35C, the U.S. Navy's most advanced stealth fighter, and its low pass between the carrier and JS HYUGA, which runs alongside it. The Self Defense Fleet maintains readiness and contributes to the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region, not only for the defense of Japan but also for the realization of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific in cooperation with allied and like-minded navies.