World View: Japan’s Largest Warship Will Train with U.S. Navy in the South China Sea

Sailors stand on the deck of the Izumo warship as it departs from the harbor of the Japan United Marine shipyard in Yokohama, south of Tokyo. March 25, 2015. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
REUTERS/Thomas Peter

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  • Japan’s largest warship will train with US Navy in the South China Sea
  • A sad picture

Japan’s largest warship will train with US Navy in the South China Sea

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a recent meeting (AP)
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a recent meeting (AP)

In what some are describing as a “World War II show of force,” Japan is planning to send its largest warship, the JS Izumo, to the South China Sea during the summer. It will train with the US Navy in the South China Sea, will make stops in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, and will join Indian and U.S. naval forces in the Indian Ocean for military exercises in July.

The JS Izumo is not a traditional aircraft carrier, but is called a “helicopter destroyer.” It can carry up to fourteen helicopters, and specializes primarily in anti-submarine missions. The threat of an expanded Chinese submarine fleet was a key driver of Japan developing the Izumo.

The word “destroyer” usually refers to a warship equipped to serve in a defensive rather than an offensive role. This is necessary because Japan’s post-war pacifist constitution forbids acquisition of offensive weapons, and forbids military action except in self-defense on Japanese soil. Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe has been campaigning for years to amend the constitution to permit offensive operations, but the proposal has been extremely controversial. Instead, Abe has succeeded in redefining “self-defense” to mean “collective self-defense,” which allows Japanese to defend Japan’s allies anywhere in the world. The “helicopter destroyer” designation is consistent with the warship’s use for collective self-defense.

China has repeatedly objected to Japan operating warships in the South China Sea. Referring to World War II, China’s foreign ministry spokesman said last year:

Japan should reflect upon rather than forget what it has done during the aggression, act and speak cautiously on issues concerning the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and make more efforts to increase mutual trust with its neighbors and promote regional peace and stability instead of sowing discord.”

In fact, naming the warship “Izumo” is highly symbolic, as it’s the name of a Japanese World War II warship which was originally used in a decisive Japanese victory in the 1905 Battle of Tsushima in a war between Russia and Japan. US Naval Institute and Reuters

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A sad picture

There is so much sadness in the world, in all the subjects that I write about. I can usually get through it by pretending that it is all happening on another planet, but this picture in Syria really got to me:

What a sad picture. As one person pointed out, it looks like one of those dystopian movies from the 70s and 80s. Al-Jazeera

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Japan, JS Izumo, Shinzo Abe
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