Japanese Foreign Minister inspects US aircraft carrier in Pacific Ocean

Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa inspected the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Pacific Ocean.

Hayashi and US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel arrived on the carrier on Saturday. A strike group led by the ship held joint drills with Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force in waters near the country earlier this month.

Hayashi and Emanuel observed a take-off and landing exercise involving F-35 fighter jets. They also spoke with the Vice Admiral Commanding the US Navy’s 7th Fleet and crew members.

Hayashi later told reporters that the exchange was very meaningful.

The minister said he told the US side that the carrier strike group’s activities embodied Washington’s commitment to achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific amid an increasingly severe security environment in the region.

Hayashi said the Japan-US alliance is the cornerstone of peace and stability in the region and in the international community.

Hayashi said Japan would continue to work closely with the United States to further strengthen its alliance’s deterrence and response capability. He added that Japan will also comprehensively strengthen its defense capability.