The ministry said the carrier was seen conducting ship-borne aircraft operations in the Pacific south of Japan’s Miyako Island and east of the Philippines’ Luzon Island for about a week from October 28.
The Shandong practised 570 ship-based aircraft take-offs and landings – most of them involving J-15 fighter jets, the ministry said. Helicopters were also put through their paces during the week-long exercise, according to the ministry.
At the nearest point the ships were about 430km (267 miles) from Miyako Island. After the exercise, the carrier group turned west into the Bashi Channel between Luzon and Taiwan, sailing towards the South China Sea on Monday, it said.
The exercise took place as Japan and the Philippines began negotiations for a defence pact to deal with maritime tension with China.
The agreement would also allow other security activities between the Philippines and Japan, including joint patrols in the South China Sea.
If finalised, it would be the most significant boost in the alliance of Japan and the Philippines in decades.
It comes after a series of tense confrontations between Chinese and Philippine coastguard and naval ships.
On Monday, Philippine Defence Secretary Gilberto Teodoro said he hoped the agreement could be reached “at the soonest possible time”, as both countries had maritime territorial disputes with China.
“We look forward to this reciprocal access agreement between both our countries given the commitment of the Japanese government and the Philippine government to preserve the rules-based international order and international law,” he said.
He added the US was helping the Philippine government “in hardening its defensive posture to include its assertion of its legitimate rights” in the South China Sea, where it had great overlapping claims with the Chinese.
Japanese observers photographed the Shandong travelling with a larger-than-usual escort fleet: the Type 055 destroyers Dalian and Yanan, the Type 052D destroyers Suzhou, Guilin and Changsha, the Type 054A frigates Zhoushan, Xuchang and Huangshan, and the Type 901 fast combat support ship Chaganhu.
The exercise was the Shandong group’s third training run in the western Pacific this year – the first was in April and the second in September.
Japan sent three warships to monitor the Shandong carrier group exercise and scrambled its fighters in response to take-offs and landings of its aircraft, it added.