Life onboard Sydney, a Japanese perspective

Published on LEUT Grant McDuling (author), LSIS Peter Thompson (photographer)

Topic(s): North East Asia Deployment, Exercise NICHI GOU TRIDENT, HMAS Sydney (IV)

ASLT Naomi Gammon, SBLT Ben King and Ensign Natsuki Kawasaki (of the Japanese Maritime Defence Force) hold an informal debrief on recently completed officer of the watch manoeuvres, conducted in company with the US Navy destroyer USS Momsen (background). (photo: Leading Seaman Peter Thompson)
ASLT Naomi Gammon, SBLT Ben King and Ensign Natsuki Kawasaki (of the Japanese Maritime Defence Force) hold an informal debrief on recently completed officer of the watch manoeuvres, conducted in company with the US Navy destroyer USS Momsen (background).

As part of its North East Asian deployment, HMAS Sydney has been conducting exercises at sea with the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force. HMAS Sydney and the Japanese destroyer JDS Murasame took part in Exercise NICHI GOU TRIDENT, a three-day exercise designed to enhance interoperability between the two navies.

Ensign Natsuki Kawasaki transferred by helicopter from Murasame to join Sydney for the exercise and the voyage to Guam as the ship’s Japanese Liaison Officer.

“I am very impressed with life on board HMAS Sydney,” Ensign Kawasaki said. “Even though the ship is very old, I am amazed it has wi-fi on board. Japanese ships don’t have wi-fi, so we can’t talk to our families when we are at sea.”

Ensign Kawasaki finds the ability to communicate with loved ones, particularly useful, as he only recently got married and is missing his wife.

“We got married on 8th June, just before sailing,” he said.

“I like the food on board Sydney. I am used to eating rice a lot so I find the food here a nice change.”

Ensign Kawasaki completed four years at the Japanese Military Academy, and then joined the Japanese Navy as an Assistant Communications and Navigation Officer.

“I have served in the navy now for three years,” he said.

In his spare time he is a keen scuba diver and has 200 parachute jumps to his name.