Adm. Scott Swift and Adm. Yutaka Murakawa, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force chief of staff, salute during an honors ceremony at the Japan Ministry of Defense, March 6. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force)

TOKYO - Adm. Scott Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, concluded a two-day trip to meet with Japanese military counterparts, March 7.

“Our longstanding alliance with Japan draws strength from shared principles and that helps us explore ways to more effectively respond to shared challenges in the Pacific,” Swift said. “Our bonds are tighter than ever and we remain committed to bolstering the already-strong defense cooperation between our countries.”

During the visit Swift lauded Japan’s Self-Defense Force – in particular the Maritime Self-Defense Force – and thanked them for being a great partner and friend of the U.S. Navy.

Swift met with members of the Japanese Ministry of Defense, National Security Council, Joint Staff and Maritime Self Defense Force as well as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan and U.S. military leadership.

“In the current global security environment, the need for our alliance has never been stronger,” Swift said. “The U.S. will continue to be a steadfast partner with Japan.”

The visit was the eighth time Swift visited Japan since assuming command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in 2015.

The world’s largest fleet command, the U.S. Pacific Fleet encompasses 100 million square miles, nearly half the Earth’s surface, from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle and from the West Coast of the United States into the Indian Ocean. The U.S. Pacific Fleet consists of approximately 200 ships/submarines, nearly 1,200 aircraft, and more than 130,000 Sailors and civilians.

Adm. Scott Swift and Japan Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera pause for a photo after Swift was presented with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, March 6. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force)