Skip to comments.Japan departs from pacifist stance, plans two aircraft carriers
Posted on 07/15/2003 8:38:05 PM PDT by overtaxed_canadian
Japan departs from pacifist stance, plans two aircraft carriers Perception of North Korean threat may have led to decision
By Richard Halloran
HAWAII - The Japanese navy is preparing to build two small aircraft carriers, its first in more than 60 years, according to Japanese and United States officials.
The plan is further evidence that Japan is departing from its pacifist post-World War II Constitution that restricts its military to self-defence.
The carriers can be deployed as command ships in a task force to give the Maritime Self-Defence Force, as the Japanese navy is called, a modest ability to project power into the sea-lanes that are vital to Japan's trading economy.
That capability is likely to draw protests from China, North Korea and South Korea, which were invaded by Japan during World War II.
Tokyo's decision to go ahead with the aircraft-carrier plan is believed to be prompted by its perception of an immediate threat from North Korea and a longer-term threat from China.
In its 2003 White Paper on defence published last week, the Self-Defence Agency asserted in more forceful terms than in earlier versions that the nation must build up its fundamental defence capabilities to ensure its independence.
In that respect, Japan is on the verge of building a missile defence. It has also just launched a second pair of intelligence satellites to watch North Korea.
Tokyo also recently passed laws giving the Self-Defence Forces wider latitude in defending their homeland.
Funds for the first small carrier have been included in Japan's defence budget for fiscal year 2004, beginning April 1 next year. The second carrier is scheduled for fiscal year 2005.
Japanese naval officers are calling the new ships 'destroyers' instead of 'aircraft carriers' in an effort to avoid triggering opposition from those against enhanced defence in Japan as well as from China and the two Koreas.
Yet drawings of the warship show the flat deck of an aircraft carrier and an 'island', or command structure, at the starboard or right edge of the deck.
Moreover, officials familiar with the ship's design said the deck and hangar below are capable of handling aircraft such as the joint strike fighter being developed by Lockheed Martin, a leading US defence contractor. That fighter, also called the F-35, is scheduled to go into production in 2008 just as the first Japanese carrier is ready for sea.
The F-35 will be a supersonic warplane capable of flying at 1 1/2 times the speed of sound. It will also incorporate stealth technology to enable it to evade radar detection.
The Japanese vessels will be comparable in size to Spain's 16,700-ton Principe De Asturias, which carries 17 planes.
The plan calls for equipping the carriers with new SH-60 Seahawk helicopters, which are designed to patrol the ocean, to detect submarines, and to protect the fleet.
The first ship is to be commissioned in 2008, the second in 2009. Two more may be built later.
An earlier proposal by the Self-Defence Forces to buy 'jump jets', that can fly as fighters or bombers, for four 14,700-tonne assault ships ran into political opposition. But that was before Japan got worried about North Korean missiles and nuclear arms.
I think Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Tokyo was actually a target but overcast on one of those days) paid the butcher's bill on that.
I just want to see the Chinese reaction .... they're probably going to S%^& themselves when Japan has carriers AND nukes.
That a Clintonite like Perry should oppose a policy can only mean Japan re-arming is something for which we should devoutly wish.
It's a sweet thing. This story leapt right out of Latest Posts and bit me right on the buttock!
China's entire plan to dominate the Western Pacific and the oil route between the Persian Gulf and Japan depended on a pliant Japan. The stupid little Chia Pet in Pyongyang has now queered the deal, and the Japanese are rearming in a big way.
DO NOT BE FOOLED!
This is the beginning of full throttle Japanese naval rearmament. Japan has come to the conclusion that they must assert themselves, lest the Koreans first, and the Chicoms later, assume that the Japanese are weak and soft. This generation of carriers is merely a testbed. The next generation will be in the CVN-X class of vessels, probably with electric-drive motors, a full air wing of IJN Fleet Air Arm aircraft. Do not be surprised if the Japanese and the Americans pool design teams to develop a "common carrier" plan.
This is not bad news at all. This is great and glorious news. The Chinese plans for the domination of the Pacific have been checked. If the People's Liberation Army Navy would be made short work of by the U.S. Navy, imagine how long they would last against both the Pacific Fleet and the Nihon Kaigun! No one knows this more than the Chinese admiralty.
Be Seeing You,
The China of today is far different than the one in the 1930's. Japan would have no chance against them today. Japan would be a smoking crater in a few minutes. The only thing that would tighten sphincters in China today would be for us to deploy an effective missile defense system.
I think that would be a little TOO ironic :)
I believe that the US intends to share our tech with Japan when we finish one.
< /extreme sarcasm >
You are incorrect. China is not eager to get involved in a nuclear exchange, or engage in nuclear brinksmanship. Their population is more concentrated than ours. They are also far behind the U.S. in terms of deliverable warheads.
Conventional military superiority is more easily flexed and wielded than nuclear missiles. Japan's re-arming is terrible news for china.
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