PHILIPPINE SEA -- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), while Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5 units concluded their participation in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force International Fleet Review (IFR) in Yokosuka and Sagami Wan, Nov. 6.
Guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) participated in the parade of ships while Prime Minister Kishida served as reviewing officer from aboard JS Izumo (DDH 183). Kishida visited Ronald Reagan following the review of ships and was welcomed by U.S. Ambassador to Japan, the Honorable Rahm Emanuel, and Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Adm. Michael Gilday.
Prime Minister Kishida and Ambassador Emanuel discussed the importance of the U.S. – Japan alliance, while touring the ship, meeting Sailors and engaging with leadership aboard Ronald Reagan. During his time aboard, Ambassador Emanuel took time to address the crew of Ronald Reagan over the ship’s intercom system.
“On behalf of the entire United States I want to say a very simple, but much needed, thank you,” said Emanuel. “A lot of times in America, we have a debate about what represents the one percent. You who have volunteered on behalf of our ideals, our values and our interests, represent the true one percent of America. Thank you for your selfless sacrifice.”
IFR is an exercise that includes navies from numerous countries to strengthen and develop maritime partnerships. This year’s event celebrated the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s (JMSDF) 70th anniversary.
CSG 5 crews integrated with JMSDF and other participating navies to strengthen interoperability and further develop maritime partnerships through team-building good will events ashore, the parade of ships at sea, as well as a multilateral search and rescue exercise.
While aboard Reagan, CNO spoke with Sailors, while also presenting awards and conducting a re-enlistment ceremony.
“What we ask you to do out here is incredibly important, and I can never understate that,” said Gilday. “Whether you’re working down in the engineering spaces, whether you’re in a supply parts storeroom, whether you’re in AIMD [Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department], whether you’re serving meals, whether you’re working in the hangar, or you’re working on the flight deck and everywhere in between just know that you are on a phenomenal team. I thank you all for what you’re doing.”
Chancellorsville, USS Higgins (DDG 76) and the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group are forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific. U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest numbered fleet in the world, and with the help of 35 other maritime-nation Allies and partners, the U.S. Navy has operated in the Indo-Pacific region for more than 70 years, providing credible, ready forces to help preserve peace and prevent conflict.