Japanese and British defense ministers are set to hold talks in Tokyo later this month to coordinate joint exercises involving the Self-Defense Forces and a British aircraft carrier strike group dispatched to the western Pacific, Japanese government sources said Wednesday.
Japan's Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and his British counterpart Ben Wallace are also expected to discuss issues related to China's growing military influence in the East and South China seas while reaffirming their commitment to promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific.
A meeting between Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Wallace may also be set, the sources said.
The aircraft carrier strike group, which departed from Britain in May, is led by the Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy's largest warship, and includes destroyers and a submarine.
The two defense ministers will use the meeting, to be held around July 20, to coordinate joint drills to be held with the Maritime Self-Defense Force when the carrier group makes a port call in Japan this fall.
They will also discuss strengthening defense cooperation, including developing engines for the Air Self-Defense Force's next fighter jet.
The MSDF will conduct joint exercises with the Queen Elizabeth, currently on its way to the Pacific Ocean, in the Gulf of Aden soon, according to government sources.