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NATO, Japan's MSDF conduct joint drill in Baltic Sea

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force conduct a joint exercise in the Baltic Sea on Aug. 21, 2018. (Photo courtesy of NATO, Kyodo)

LONDON (Kyodo) -- The North Atlantic Treaty Organization said Wednesday it has conducted a joint exercise with Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force in the Baltic Sea.

The MSDF destroyer Makinami and training ship Kashima took part in the drill Tuesday along with vessels of NATO Maritime Group One, according to NATO.

According to NATO, it also conducted another joint maritime exercise with Japan's MSDF off the coast of Spain earlier this month, saying it is trying to make use of opportunities when ships of partner countries sail near the Atlantic, to develop an understanding of mutual strategies and navigation procedures.

As a NATO partner outside the region, Tokyo is promoting security ties with the 29-member alliance, with Japan's mission established in Brussels in July.

In October, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited the MSDF destroyer Teruzuki during his visit to the force's Yokosuka base near Tokyo.

With Russia's military presence in the Baltic Sea increasing in recent years, NATO is considering conducting a large-scale military exercise in the sea for the first time since 2002, in a show of force in the Northern Europe region.

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