China should be worried.
Japan is eyeing a return to the aircraft carrier business, according to a report from Reuters.
This week, Reuters reported, citing three unnamed government officials, that Japan is actively considering refitting its massive Izumo-class helicopter destroyers to carry American stealth fighters. Specifically, the Izumo-class destroyers—of which Japan has two ships—would be able to carry the F-35B, which has a vertical take-off and landing capability. Other newspapers have since confirmed the report, citing their own sources within the Japanese government.
Following the Reuters report, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera issued something of a denial, although hardly a full-throated one. “Regarding our defense posture, we are constantly conducting various examinations. But no concrete examination is under way on the introduction of F-35B or remodeling of Izumo-class destroyers,” Onodera said, local media reported. He added, however, that “there is a need to always be considering various alternatives.”
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