The rolling out of Japan’s second “helicopter carrier” demonstrates Japan’s commitment to re-militarizing to compensate for Japan relying less on the U.S. for its defense. Although these are advertised as “helicopter carriers,” make no mistake about it, the Izumo and the Kaga are aircraft carriers and are fully capable of launching and recovering fighter jets.
Japanese navy’s second big helicopter carrier enters service
March 22, 2017
Japan’s second big helicopter carrier, the Kaga, entered service on Wednesday, giving the nation’s military greater ability to deploy beyond its shores as it pushes back against China’s growing influence in Asia.
Accompanied by a military band, Maritime Self Defense Force commanders took possession of the 248 meter (813.65 ft.) long vessel at the Japan Marine United shipyard in Yokohama near Tokyo, where it was docked next to its sister ship the Izumo.
“China is attempting to make changes in the South China Sea with bases and through acts that exert pressure is altering the status quo, raising security concerns among the international community,” Vice Minister of Defense Takayuki Kobayashi said at the ceremony attend by about 500 people
Japan’s two biggest warships since World War Two are potent symbols of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to give the military a bigger international role. They are designated as helicopter destroyers to keep within the bounds of a war-renouncing constitution that forbids possession of offensive weapons.
In its biggest show of naval power in foreign waters in more than 70 years, Japan plans to dispatch the Izumo in May on a three-month tour through the South China Sea, sources with knowledge of the plan told Reuters earlier.
China claims almost all the disputed waters through which around $5 trillion of global sea-borne trade passes each year. Beijing’s growing military presence there has fueled concern in Tokyo and Washington.
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