Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Japanese MSDF vessels arrive in Cambodian port

(Kyodo) _ Three vessels of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force arrived in Cambodia on Tuesday, the last destination in the training squadron's 155-day cruise around the world, the Japanese Embassy said.

Naoki Mitori, the embassy's first secretary, told Kyodo News that the vessels Kashima, Murasame and Yugiri, with about 750 officers and crew aboard, including approximately 180 newly commissioned officers, arrived in the southwestern port of Sihanoukville in the morning and will stay until Friday.

In a statement, the embassy said the overseas training cruises by the MDSF have been conducted annually since 1957, but this is the first time for a training squadron to visit Cambodia.

The cruises are aiming at developing the newly commissioned officers' leadership and seamanship skills through training at sea, broadening their international outlook and enhancing mutual understanding and goodwill at each port of visit, it said.

Before coming to Cambodia, the training squadron visited 13 ports in 12 countries -- the United States, Russia, Britain, Germany, France, India, Turkey, Malta, Egypt, Mexico, Panama and Norway.

It left Tokyo on April 19 and is scheduled to return to Japan on Sept. 20, having covered an approximate distance of 55,042 kilometers.

During the Cambodia stopover, the vessels will be open to the public on Wednesday and Thursday.

Also during the visit, MSDF members will visit Cambodia's capital of Phnom Penh, where a music band comprised of members of the training squadron will give a performance, playing Japanese and Cambodian songs.

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