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Ruling bloc OKs “Izumo” destroyer as aircraft carrier

  • December 14, 2018
  • , Yomiuri , p. 4
  • JMH Translation

The ruling bloc on Dec. 13 approved the final draft of the new Mid-Term Defense Program, which will be soon finalized by the cabinet. The approval gives the greenlight for the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s “Izumo-class” destroyer to be converted into a de facto aircraft carrier. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has obtained the understanding of its junior coalition partner Komeito, which was cautious [about the Izumo’s refurbishment], by confirming in written form that the modified Izumo-class destroyer will not carry fighters on a standing basis and will operate within the bounds of Japan’s exclusively defense-oriented policy. (Abridged)



[Main points of the ruling bloc’s written confirmation regarding the refurbishment of the “Izumo-class” destroyer]


  • The upgraded Izumo-class destroyer will carry “F-35B” state-of-the-art stealth fighter jets to strengthen Japan’s air defense. But the jets will not be based on the destroyer on a standing basis.


  • The upgraded Izumo-class destroyer will continue to be tasked with defense operations and relief activities in the event of major disasters as a multi-purpose destroyer capable of carrying helicopters, providing medical care, serving as a command center, sealifting equipment, and accommodating personnel.


  • The upgraded Izumo-class destroyer is not an “attack aircraft carrier.” Japan is constitutionally not prohibited from possessing it.


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