On Wednesday the Maritime Self-Defence Force of Japan reported the successful delivery of the largest Japanese warship since World War II. The Izumo is a helicopter carrier as big as the Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carriers that used to engage in battle with the United States forces in the Pacific.
It has a length of 248 meters and bares resemblance with the U.S. Marine Corp amphibious assault carriers when relating to size and design but it is, however, designated as a helicopter destroyer, thus making it possible for Japan to not breach a constitutional ban regarding owning any means that may be used to wage war.
Having attended the handover ceremony conducted at the Japan United Marine shipyard located in Yokohama, General Nakatani, Japan’s Minister of Defence, commented:
"The vessel has the necessary capability to handle a vast number of tasks such as conduct peace keeping operations, take part in international disaster relief and aid missions and so on."
Japan is also going to further enhance its defence capability by adding a longer-range patrol aircraft and military cargo planes as well as by buying Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets, along with amphibious assault vehicles and Boeing's Osprey troop carrier, all of which able to operate from the Izumo.
The Izumo is not equipped with the necessary catapult for launching fixed-wing fighters, but a planned vertical-take-off-and-landing (VTOL) variant of the F-35 would be able to take off from the vessel’s flight deck.