Two Japanese navy ships, 550 sailors docking in Esquimalt this Thursday

Two Japanese navy ships, 550 sailors docking in Esquimalt this Thursday
Photo: Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force/Facebook

Two ships and hundreds of sailors from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force are sailing into Greater Victoria this week, where they’ll be greeted with a welcome ceremony, according to the Department of National Defence.

The ships from the Japan Training Squadron, Japanese Ships (JS) Kashima and Hatakaze, will make a “friendly port visit” to His Majesty’s Canadian Dockyard Esquimalt from Thursday to Sunday, National Defence says in a release.

The visit is for “the purpose of overseas training and international goodwill between Japan and Canada,” it said Monday. “Approximately 550 sailors will be visiting.”

The welcome ceremony is scheduled from 10:30 to 10:45 a.m. Thursday at the dockyard, followed by an onboard reception from 6 to 7:30 p.m. A wreath-laying ceremony will happen from 9 to 9:30 a.m. Friday at the B.C. Legislature, followed by another ceremony from 10:30 to 11 a.m. at God’s Acre Cemetery.

The dockyard is off Esquimalt Road in Esquimalt, while the Legislature is at 501 Belleville St. in Victoria and the cemetery is at 1190 Colville Rd. in Esquimalt.

“A collaborative musical performance by the Japan Training Squadron and the Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy will be held at the Cameron Bandshell of Beacon Hill Park on Friday, June 16, 2023, from 2 to 3 p.m.,” reads the release.

National Defence says during their Overseas Training Cruise 2023, JS Kashima and Hatakaze will visit eight countries between May and October. Victoria is the second port of call.

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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