Japan Wants Aircraft Carriers Armed with F-35s (And It Could Happen Fast)

    Zachary Keck

    Security, Asia

    By modifying some of its top ships.

    Japan’s ruling party is officially calling for Tokyo to return to the aircraft carrier business.

    On May 25, the Liberal Democratic Party—the party of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe—finalized proposals calling for the country to refit its massive helicopter destroyers so that they can carry fixed-wing aircraft, according to a number of local Japanese news outlets. “The party plans to submit the proposals to the government by the end of this month at the earliest, hoping that they will be reflected in the country’s defense program guidelines and medium-term defense program to be revised at year-end,” one news article said.

    The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) first hinted it was going in that direction when it released an outline of the proposal in March of this year. At that time, the proposal called for refitting one or both of Japan’s Izumo-class amphibious assault ships to be “a multipurpose defensive aircraft carrier.” Apparently, some members of the LDP objected to this wording since it evoked memories of World War II when Imperial Japan had a potent carrier fleet. Thus, the new proposal now calls the refitted vessels a multipurpose “mother ship.” The concept is still the same.

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