From Saturday, 5 March to Sunday, 6 March, two ships of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), the destroyer “INAZUMA” and the training ship “HATAKAZE”, came to Palau carrying a crew of about 440 people, including about 100 midshipmen. Palau is one of the ports of call for their Overseas Training Cruise to develop the seamanship as well as to promote friendly relations with visiting countries.
All crew members did not land on Palau due to the pandemic of the COVID-19 infection, but on 5 March, Commanding Officer, Captain Mr. Ii paid an online courtesy call to Vice President and Minister of Justice Hon. Sengebau-Senior.
Expressing his gratitude to the Vice President and the people of Palau for receiving JMSDF in Palauan territorial waters, he stated that “Japan and Palau are maritime nations with a vast exclusive economic zone, and it is essential that we work together to realize a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’”.
Extending her pleasure at being able to receive the Commander’s courtesy call online, the Vice President responded, “As President Whipps emphasizes many times, ‘presence is deterrence’, so we appreciate a goodwill exercise to be conducted tomorrow, as it will strengthen the capacity of DMSFWP to achieve a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’”. She added that she hopes JMSDF to come ashore in Palau and meet us face-to-face after the pandemic of COVID-19.
On 6 March, Captain Ii and his crew conducted a goodwill exercise with “KEDAM” of Palau’s Division of Maritime Security and Fish and Wildlife Protection (DMSFWP), Bureau of Public Safety, Ministry of Justice. “KEDAM” is a patrol ship provided to DMSFWP by The Nippon Foundation. This is the second time in history that JMSDF and DMSFWP conducted the goodwill exercise, following last September.