Local media in Japan has reported that the main governing Liberal Democratic Party plans to propose introducing F-35B fighter jets and a multi-purpose aircraft carrier.

Yesterday, the LDP panel on national security compiled a set of proposals to be considered. The panel stressed the need to enhance Japan’s defence capabilities both in quality and quantity.

The panel wants the Japanese Defense Ministry to acquire F-35B stealth jets, which can take off from short runways. The panel will also reportedly call for procuring a multi-purpose aircraft carrier “that can also serve as a hospital ship”. Retrofitting of the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s destroyer Izumo is to be listed as an option.

As we reported recently, before this March 20th confirmation, conversion of the existing Izumu class helicopter carriers was rumoured as an option for the F-35Bs Japan wants to purchase.

The Yomiuri Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper, said that Shinzo Abe’s administration “is planning to indicate the number of [F-35B] aircraft to be procured in the next Medium Term Defense Program, which is to be compiled at the end of this year.”

The story went on to report that the Abe government is “mulling including related expenses in the fiscal 2019 budget plan, with a view to starting the delivery of F-35Bs from around fiscal 2024”. The article also notes the F-35B would be the perfect aircraft if Japan wanted to operate fixed-wing aircraft from its Izumo class helicopter destroyers, an idea that Tokyo was considering late last year.

The 248-metre long Izumo, Japan’s largest warship equipped with a flat flight deck, was designed with an eye to hosting F-35B fighters. Its elevator connecting the deck with the hangar can carry the aircraft.

Multiple plans are reportedly under consideration, some of which call for US Marine Corps F-35s to use the vessels, but others for Japan to procure its own aircraft. These plans quickly raised criticism from China, where government officials reacted negatively and urged Japan to “act cautiously”.

An official proposal will be released in late May.

24 COMMENTS

  1. Cos China!

    Chinese military budget is always compared in absolute dollar terms to US. What this doesn’t take account of is purchasing power. Chinese labour, energy and steel purchases at least twice that in US.

    Second biggest military in the world right now and firm ally of Russia with whom they are now security partners.

    Within ten years they will be as powerful as the US, five when allied with Russia – both of whom are now lifelong dictatorships with a grudge against the west.

    Time to get serious now…

    • I dont see Russia as to much of a threat , in surface Vessels at least. Most of their ships are degrading soviet types in which they can not afford to replace and do not have facilitys to build large vessels ever since they lost the dock yard in the ukraine wants the USSR was finnished.
      This is why Russia tried to buy the french LDPs. Plus they cant even afford to refit its only aircraft carrier.
      Their subs is another matter.

      • It’s the combination of Russia & China which is scary AF. They have complimentary military assets, half the Eurasian land mass and over 20% of the worlds population.

      • Dave12, The Russian navy is a serious threat in a particular area; its submarines. They are the main naval threat our depleted forces will need to deal with in the event of a future crisis. Past Soviet SSGN’s could only cram 24 SS-19 anti-ship missiles. Smaller, faster, longer range anti-ship missiles are now available to the Russians, allowing large volumes of missiles to be fired in full saturation attacks, with unpleasantly high terminal sprint speeds. These larger numbers of faster, longer range anti-ship missiles will have much fewer targets to focus on. To deal with the RN alone, they only need to swamp the defences on eight anti-submarine T-23 frigate that don’t even have a CIWS to defend themselves, and our new T-26 ships only have two CIWS… any future conflict will look like a re-run of the carnage caused by mass air attacks on shipping in WWII- just replace the aircraft with modern missiles.
        In the mean time our SOSUS fields are now less expansive, and our maritime recon. planes have been reduced to nine from the 49 Nimrods we used to deploy.
        Yet we still dither with providing a relevant defence budget that can provide the funds required to create a conventional force that Russia could respect.

        • Not buying it IVANSKI you should stop reading your RT propaganda,,,also a navy with out proper air cover is fragile.

          • Wow, Dave12 that’s quite an insult to a Welshman!
            My comments are PRO Royal Navy. The last part of my comment even asks for more of the budget!
            Climb back into your cot and try to learn to read before you make further pathetic insults.
            There is no room in these forums for sad comments like yours.

      • I agree that Russia is not as big a threat as supposed. China is the real threat. Some of their senior military officers have been quite blunt in semi-private conversations about their goals, which include taking Taiwan, and dominating the western Pacific to keep the US out. They believe they can replace the US as the dominant superpower. They don’t worry about public opinion, the news organizations, or what anyone thinks. They spend what they want on defense without regard to political concerns.

        • What China aspires too, and what it is or will ever be capable of doing is two compleatly different things.. The US can single handedly track and sink all it’s surface and submarine fleet on its own if war were to occur so imagine with NATO allies, China would be finished politically and militarily at sea. I don’t see that happening, and it wouldn’t be worth doing. We are not in the 40’s anymore..

    • You assume that the U.S. will sit back and do nothing the next ten years, the U.S. is also building and continuing to modernize with technology, so will china actually catch up, the might have if obama or hillary were around, those two morons can be scratched off the list. As china improves, so will the USA and its allies.

    • Ian,

      As far as political analysis goes, and comparative governance in the international field, I suggest you take some rudimentary lessons. For your education, Russia has a democratic constitution and engages in elections, whilst, Communist China does not.

      It may also assist you to learn that the present government structure the Russian’s operate under was implemented by Mr Yeltsin, who was assisted in this endeavour by the United States no less after his attack on the Russian Parliament in 1993. Facts dear boy, facts. They really are important – still, lets not let facts get in the way of fantasy, particularly the fact that the UK processes no independent nuclear capability, unlike Russia, China and France, and, minus the US-leased nuclear shield, its military capability is a laughing stock, which this article highlights clearly.

  2. Is Izumo going to be updated to provide the Japanese with the multi-role carrier they are planning for or are they thinking of a new build ?
    It isn’t that clear from what they have released so far.
    A new ship would fit in with bringing in F35b by 2024.

    • To date the Japanese haven’t built a purpose built carrier or bought a single F35B so lets see how it pans out first.
      Japan is a wealthy nation with over twice the size the population of the UK, easy to forget that, and I appreciate the cultural adversity Japan has to expeditionary involvement which others have highlighted.
      But the Japanese do provide a useful bulwark and counterbalance to growing militarism in China.

  3. To be honest I can’t see a big future in any Russia China alliance.

    1) China actually needs a big market to sustain its economy and that’s not Russia.
    2)Geography and climate. China is in a really nasty zone re global warming and climate change. Russian real estate is going to start looking rather lovely for a cash/People Rich superpower.

    Any Russian China pact is likely ( in a longer term) to go the same way as the German Russian pact.

    Both nations rather than being in the springtime of their power are facing challenging autumns and winter.

    China has to face its demographic time bomb ( caused by communist population controls) that makes the West’s look like a cake walk. Made worse by the fact it’s economic model is based on a cheap labour force.

    Climate models show China as a food producing nation will be pretty much F&£ked within a 50 year period.

    At the same time Russian is in complete economic decline ( let’s remember we are the richer nation and if so desired could have a military well beyond Russia’s ). Without money from its fossil fuels ( the engery industry of yesterday) it Economy would have completely collapsed.

    They have a declining population, with areas completely depopulated ( and being colonised by Chinese migration).

    Although this does make both nations quit a danger to the west in the near term.

      • Marc, Global warming is climate change,although climate change does not have to be global warming ( it could be cooling ), but it this case the climate change is warming. Which will as discussed be a BFP for China’s food production, while at the same time making more of Russia prime Argo land.

        Interestingly the same is likely to happen with the US and Canada although I can’t envisage the USA annexing the nice grain producing bits of Canada.

  4. When they revealed this ship and called it a ‘Helicopter destroyer’ I laughed. Anyone with a brain cell could tell what it was designed for.

    But I really don’t think anyone has an issue with it bar the Chinese and Chairman Mao, I mean President Xi Jinping. And with increasing Chinese and Russian bellicosity, any allied increased military ability is welcome.

    • Lewis the people who really have a problem with it are the Japanese, never underplay the scars from the Second World War, this was a culture that came face to face with utter destruction, because of its own agressive militarism (even more so than Germany). Non aggression is driven deep into their culture, not to be mistaken for pacifism (like most island cultures they have a deeply buried aggression not to toyed with).

      I suspect we are starting to see a healing of some of these scars, if China is not careful it will re awakened a bit of a beast.

      • You say that yet 60% of Japanese law makers, 15 of the 18 cabinet members and the Japanese prime minister are part of Nippon Kaigi, a nationalist orginization which seeks to tear up the constitution’s pacifist elements, restore the military and Emporers preeminent place in society and revise history to take out the references to Japan’s WW2 war crimes. Amongst other things.

        On top of essentially controlling a majority of Japan’s government they also have tens of thousands of members.

        Now I don’t deny that Japanese society hasn’t changed or valued the non aggression elements of their constitution, but if non aggression was ‘engrained’ into their culture then they would not have allowed the change to their constitution a few years back to allow foreign deployments abroad in defenses of allys or tolerated the majority of their politicians being a part of an organization that is promoting a change back to what is essentially imperialist Japan.

  5. Japanese navy is the 3rd most powerful in the world beçause of their surface fleet strength and advanced escorts. They are really being tested though by the mass production of China’s type 55 heavy destroyer/ cruiser. The Chinese have already got 7 of these vessels under construction or already built with the potential to construct 50+ vessels in next 15 years, that is a lot of firepower.
    If Japan want a proper aircraft carrier could we sell them a couple of the QE class adapted for Japanese requirements? Built in UK whilst we get a couple of the Izumo class ships adapted for RN requirements to act as LPH and escort ASW carriers (a much needed replacement for Ocean)
    Just need RN manpower uplifted and spreadsheet Phill to loosen the treasury budget and actually invest in defence.
    RUSI recently published a report indicating that Russia and China together are both building up their forces to challenge the West and allied nations.

  6. Japan could easily increase it military power in the naval and air power arenas, less easily in land forces. As stated above the Japanese navy is the 3rd biggest in the world, much bigger than the Royal Navy and just as modern. They have very good conventional submarines, about 19 compared to 7, (or is it 6), SSNs in the RN. All they need is maritime airpower. They have about 4 times as many MRAs as the RN will have , in fact more than anyone but the US in the west. The Japanese Air Force has more combat jets than any European country. It would be nice if they got 2 QE carriers, and the RN got 2 LPHs if enough to act as command ships.

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