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.
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I'm shaking my head, too. Unbelievable.
That flowing sound is the sound of Chinese sphincters emptying.
Just the thing for the new Japanese carrier.
I mean, it's not like anyone thinks that North Korea is still going to be around in 2008...
I think it's because by the time that we get rid of a carrier it's ready to go ... exception being the ones Krintoon retired early.
Are those things still around somewhere ?
LOL. The planes will be called ducks.
Nimitz, for one, I suspect, would be happy that a peaceful, democratic Japan was strengthening its Navy to face agressive totalitarian neighbors.
Didn't you read the article. It's not a carrier. It's a helicopter carrying destroyer for FOUR(4) only helicopters.
Who could possibly mistake for a carrier?
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