politics

Japan's plan to pursue aircraft carrier raises question of necessity

31 Comments
By Keita Nakamura

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Given the issues with the Senkaku Islands and the intrusions in the EEZ in the Ogasawara Islands, there is absolutely a defensive reason for these carriers.

Of course, Japan could do what China did: invest huge amounts of money to build up huge military facilities in these islands, including a full fledged base with an airstrip and port on the main island in the Senkaku Islands.

Seriously, while I get all the whole issue of Japan's history, Japan is now dealing with a rapidly growing, aggressive and assertive PRC that has no issue with grabbing what they think is theirs or even what is disputed and that they want.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Some times better the devil you know they say.

Im not big fan of Japan being still quasi occupied or changing the constitution, but with China, Russia and North Korea wanting the US out of the region, and China and Russia being territorially aggressive what is Japan suppose to do?

Look what China demands of the world about Taiwan and the wide reaching "historical" claims it makes even though the current governing body was only established in 1949, I could see the same happening with Japan or parts of Japan. Russia's actions in the Ukraine and Syria. The Dictatorship in North Korea.. are we suppose to believe a truly independent, defense only Japan, and South Korea for that matter, would really be Ok in a situation without the US, without balance in the region.

What do I mean by OK? Do I think it means any of these neighboring countries would invade or take over Japan's mainland, probably no, but chip away at bits and prices and restrict movement yes. A less democratic, less free, less open, less human rights and individual rights oriented Asia Pacific I think is dangerous and leads to the kinds of situations that lead to wars and human misery.

We also have a responsibility to work together as humans to look after this rock we live on.. but thats very difficult when you have countries determined to make problems.

Akie, actually we live in the most free, safest healthiest time in human history, despite what the 24hr News Cycle would have you believe, but this is always at risk and we must always fight for freedom, access to information, freedom of the press, freedom of opinion, education and human rights, while keeping those who wish to their people under "control", and want to upset the fragile balance of peace and the status quo under careful observation.

Ganbare Japan, Im actually generally pretty left, and wish for peace, but the left generally (in the terms of democratic left) isn't for dictators and the restrictions on freedom and government control that occurs in those places.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

OssanAmerica Today 06:42 am JST

The Japanese carriers with a limited (what, 8-10 planes?)

At most 5. 6 would be the maximum limit with many difficulties to maneuver due to lack of available space. The Izumo class is so small that the number of planes loaded is much smaller than the Ministry of Defense wants.

Note that F-35B units cannot bend wings. Unlike their sisters A and C. They can do it. It is also a fairly large aircraft compared to the McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II. It doubles in size.

The perfect combination would be 3 combat fighters on the deck of the ship. And the other 2 reserve inside the hangars.

The Izumo will never be an offensive carrier. The number of fighter planes is so ridiculously low. That it will not pose a threat to any country. But at the same time it will strengthen the combat capability to defend the chain of Japanese outlying islands of the Pacific. In case of incursion or seizure by force by a foreign country. In what would be defined as a defensive action.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Japan would not need Aircraft Carriers if it was not for the extreme aggression, direct threats and huge Military build up of China and North Korea. They are getting stronger year by year and Japan needs to keep up with them. So, left wing critics and pacifists can blame Xi and Kim for this, NOT PM Abe.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

Absolutely waste, the world is more danger than ever before.

You are absolutely correct. China has been pretty bad about that.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

My private student who is a Navy Commander in the Japanese Navy and recently returned from a post in Kenya has loose lips. He told me Japan wants to put the carrier off the coast of East Africa. If Japan and China get into a row, it'll be in East Africa, he says.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

The important point is how the plan will be perceived by other countries, and the latest move may provide an excuse for China to take a tougher stance against Japan, according to the expert well-versed in international politics.

"I think the conversion of Izumo is not only useless in terms of military purposes, it can even provoke China," Uemura said.

Typical left wing Japanese academic tripe. China is already taking a tough stance. Would China agree to trash their aircraft carriers if Japan cancels theirs?

The Japanese carriers with a limited (what, 8-10 planes?) are nothing compared to the full sized carriers used by the US and China. They are a defensive weapon that will provide a support role in amphibious operations. Not an offensive weapon capable of bringing an assault to the enemy's doorstep.

6 ( +14 / -8 )

Nobody cares when China constantly provokes Japan, but god forbid Japan might do it back.

6 ( +14 / -8 )

Surrounded by Russia, China, and North Korea? Japan more realistically needs multiple aircraft carrier strike groups and also a few thousand nukes in a nuclear triad for guaranteed second strike capability. That would constitute an almost guaranteed deterrent to conflict as you can bet China or North Korea won't try anything if any escalation would result in the permanent annihilation of their countries

6 ( +6 / -0 )

AkieToday  08:17 am JST

Strongest condomination.

Condomination......lol

4 ( +10 / -6 )

as a show of force and future capability, I think japan should pursue this. Its not a carrier anyhow, its a kind of flat top, for a light infantry fixed vertical take off or rotary wing support operation, similar to the USMC MEU boats.

For japan to rearm itself against a 1 on 1 with china, they just dont have the numbers. When Japan invaded China during WW2, China was a disorganized mess, and Japan took advantage of that. China is not that way anymore; the yare a united nationlistic force to be reckoned with. I dont think Japan stands a chance against China; but these efforts will show they are serious about protecting their sovereignty, but as far as power projection, that aint gonna happen in these times. I see no concern.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I don't know what the best play is for Japan, but I know a few Chinese people and boy some of them really haven't been able to leave Nanjing in the past.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Absolutely necessary, the world will be safer than ever before. Strongest support for this move.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I doubt Japan would have a need to buy a foreign built carrier. If they wanted to build one they could very quickly. Japan hasn't bought a foreign built warship since 1900. Plus the access to technical assistance available from allies. But whether home built or foreign bought the same obstruction applies; the constitution.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

"Perhaps Japan should decide to get serious and actually buy a proper carrier. They should seek to buy older U.S carriers that are being phased out as part of the shift to the Ford class, but since there nuclear powered that could be the real challenge. By far the quickest solution"

Wrong. Carrier groups are used by super powers to project power around the globe. Japan is neither a super power and has few interest outside its borders. Mattis probably suggested they create a Marine Corps, which makes sense, as a quick reactionary shock force they are the most suitable troops to take on a Chinese invasion of any outlier islands. The Izumo could support such a landing force off shore.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Future generations will applaud this decision and be glad the threat from China was met with astute choices. China will regret its decision to threaten its neighbors with its huge military buildup.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Aircraft carriers are old tech.

That's why China is building more

If one is not gonna condemn China for building its own aircraft carriers, then one cannot condemn Japan for building its own aircraft carriers

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Perhaps Japan should decide to get serious and actually buy a proper carrier. They should seek to buy older U.S carriers that are being phased out as part of the shift to the Ford class, but since there nuclear powered that could be the real challenge. By far the quickest solution.

The second alternative is to spend 3 billion pounds on a Queen Elizabeth class from the U.K.

Now would be the right time to place that order.

Its designed to do exactly what Japan needs.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Michael G, there's Diego Garcia just as few short miles from the African east coast. I really don't think China can do much harm when US & British have that area well secured.
0 ( +0 / -0 )

Surrounded by Russia, China, and North Korea? Japan more realistically needs multiple aircraft carrier strike groups and also a few thousand nukes in a nuclear triad for guaranteed second strike capability.

If Japan really decided to go all out like that, I would rather they focused on nuclear strike subs, first and foremost, everything else is becoming too easy to shoot down or sink.

Subs are still the best approach and most survivable at this time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maybe PM Abe will position both carriers in the Taiwan straits in preparation for the announcement of the re-establishment of full diplomatic ties with ROC-TW.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The future generation will decide Japan, and choose China over threat. Abe will regret his decision to waste Japanese money for absolutely nothing but guilty.

It's almost funny that you believe the world would side with a communist dictatorship that imprisons foreigners for no reason other than one of their executives has been arrested, makes it's own citizens disappear for disagreeing with the government and has a leader that appointed himself for life over a small island nation that is building a tiny aircraft carrier.

No, on second thought, it's not funny. It's sad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It’s not thay China is a threat. It’s Japan growing more insecure.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Military expenditure is simply corporate welfare on a massive scale, and the country can no longer afford it. Future wars will be fought in other ways, but not always on land, sea and air. Japan's cyber defenses are a joke, and it has long since lost economic momentum and innovation to China. It has an aging population that can neither work productively nor engage in military efforts, a dramatic labor shortage, a massive internal debt, and an inward-looking, passive sub-40 population that avoids conflict like it does the opposite sex. Who does the government expect to fight, and who do they expect to do the fighting? Foreign contract laborers?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Aircraft carriers are old tech.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The issue at hand is the benefit/cost ratio. An Izumo class has a low benefit/cost ratio because it is simply not survivable in the backwaters of China and Korea. In the South of Indonesia or in the Indian ocean, yes. In the East China Sea and the South China Sea, nope.

What good is a pseudo-aircraft carrier with $3 billion worth of hardware onboard when Japan's enemies can kill it in an hour if they wished it?

Japan doesn't have a lot of money to spend on military and must spend its money wisely.

This 105 F-35s + Izumo class conversion has cost Japan's own fighter jet industry, what will Japan sacrifice for its inevitable regular carrier next?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Some defense experts have echoed the government's view that refitting Izumo-class ships, in itself, will not make them highly offensive, given that each will only have the capacity to carry some 10 F-35B fighter jets which Japan plans to newly introduce as the aircraft are capable of short takeoff and vertical landings.

Lol! Not "highly offensive"? I'll bet that there are others in the region that think differently!

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

Absolutely waste, the world is more danger than ever before. Strongest condomination.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

It seems to me that JMSDF needs one aircraft carrier to defend but no more than.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Perhaps if Japan had nurtured better relationships with its neighbors, there would be less cause for concern...

As for this being a strictly 'defensive' vessel, that's just double speak. Of course it also has strong offensive capabilities too.

Luckily for Japan though, the US is not going anywhere and will continue to look after Japan as if it were the 51st state of the US...

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

The future generation will decide Japan, and choose China over threat. Abe will regret his decision to waste Japanese money for absolutely nothing but guilty.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

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