Several Japanese government officials revealed on the 5th that the British Navy will dispatch the most sophisticated aircraft carrier “Queen Elizabeth” to the Western Pacific including Okinawa Prefecture and other southern islands as soon as early next year. The core aircraft carrier strike group is expected to receive support from the US military in Japan. The idea of repairing and maintaining the carrier-based F-35B stealth fighter at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Komaki South Plant (Aichi Prefecture) has also surfaced.

Japan intends to deepen its cooperation with the United Kingdom, which has the highest naval power in the world and demonstrates a posture of confronting China that has strengthened maritime activities and maintaining order. In the Western Pacific, continued activities of US forces that have alliances with Japan and aircraft carriers of non-neighboring countries are extremely rare. The reason behind this lies in China’s claims of sovereignty over the South China Sea and the British government’s strong concern over the Hong Kong issue.

According to relevant sources, the “Queen Elizabeth” and the ships and aircraft of the strike group are expected to conduct joint exercises with the Japanese Self-Defense Force and the US military. The F-35 fighter is manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corporation of the United States. The Komaki South Plant of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is the F-35 maintenance base in the Asia-Pacific region. It can carry out comprehensive maintenance such as regular inspections every few years. It is currently coordinating whether to accept British fighters.

According to the “Status of the United Nations Agreement” based on United Nations resolutions related to the Korean War (1950~1953), the British troops were able to receive supplies at Yokosuka (Kanagawa), Sasebo (Nagasaki), Shirana (Okinawa), and other US military facilities and areas in Japan. In order to avoid overstimulating China, the Maritime Self-Defense Force seems to be cautious about active rear support.

Source: Kyodo News