HMAS Arunta visited Sasebo, Japan for a three day port visit recently, to exercise a long standing agreement between the United Nations Command and the Government of Japan.
The United Nations Command was formed during the Korean War to direct United Nations operations and to restore peace on the Korean Peninsula. In 1954, Japan created an agreement signed by a number of United Nations 'sending states' to honour the ongoing commitment by Japan to assist the United Nations. As one of the sending states, Australia is required to periodically exercise the agreement by sending Royal Australian Navy ships to conduct official port visits.
Arunta's visit to Sasebo also enabled ongoing interaction with members of the United States Navy. An informal reception was held in Arunta for the officers and senior sailors of the various US ships home ported in Sasebo.
Arunta's crew was able to make the most of the visit to Japan, also visiting significant wartime location, Nagasaki. One hundred members of the crew used their off duty time to better understand sites such as the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, Nagasaki Peace Park and the Glover Gardens.
Lieutenant Caleb Muggeridge was one member of the crew who was deploying overseas for the first time.
"It was a fantastic opportunity to visit Sasebo and immerse ourselves in the Japanese culture," he said.
"Many of those who participated appreciated the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of atomic warfare and the circumstances surrounding the end of the Second World War."
Arunta departed Sasebo to exercise with the Republic of Korea Navy in order to be able to undertake safe and coordinated combined maritime operations.