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Press Release | May 15, 2023

U.S. Coast Guard conducts search and rescue exercise with Japan Coast Guard near San Diego

District 11

SAN DIEGO — The Coast Guard concluded a search and rescue exercise (SAREX) with the Japan Coast Guard training vessel Kojima off the coast of San Diego, Sunday.

The SAREX is part of Operation Sapphire which was established through a memorandum of cooperation in 2022 between the U.S. and Japan Coast Guards as a perpetual operation to strengthen relationships, increase bilateral engagements, and focus on maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The U.S. Coast Guard assets involved in the exercise included the Coast Guard Cutter Robert Ward, a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in Los Angeles/ Long Beach, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Sector San Diego, a C-27 Spartan aircraft from Air Station Sacramento, and a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium from Station San Diego. The Japan Coast Guard will be operating their 377-foot Coast Guard Cadet training ship Kojima. 

The small boats conducted a few approaches to the Kojima and the Robert Ward. The helicopter aircrew conducted basket hoists with the Kojima.

The Kojima is on a 101-day deep sea training voyage for officer candidates who graduated from the Japan Coast Guard Academy March 25. The Kojima’s crew had a port call in San Francisco, May 9, followed by facility tours of Coast Guard Pacific Area on Coast Guard Island.

The Kojima, which is captained by Takahashi Kuniaki, is 377-feet long and weighs 3,000 metric tons. It can travel at a maximum velocity of up to 18 nautical miles per hour. It is homeported in Kure, Hiroshima, Japan.