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Japan to hold first drills with UK aircraft carrier off Africa

Counter-piracy exercise in Gulf of Aden likely next week

A F-35B Lightning Jet is seen between night sorties on the HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Mediterranean Sea on June 21. (Photo courtesy of the Royal Navy)

TOKYO -- Japan will hold joint exercises with the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time in waters off the coast of the Horn of Africa, likely next week, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters Friday.

Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force will partner with the U.K. carrier strike group for drills in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia, ahead of a planned port call in Japan this summer. Naval forces from the U.S. and the Netherlands accompanying the strike group are expected to join in as well.

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