Dec 282017


Japan Considers Converting Ships to Aircraft Carriers

In short: Japan is pondering buying VTOL F-35B’s to operate off of slightly modified Izumo-class helicopter carriers. The reason? Seems they’re getting a little jumpy about China.


 Posted by at 8:47 pm
  • Nemo

    Yeah, saw that in the Japan Times the other day. Not a surprise. Actually, Japan has been floating the idea of “defensive” carriers as far back as 1952. Back then they wanted a few CVE or CVL types, which could have been useful given the JMSDF’s ASW role.

    The idea of deploying some Harrier carriers was floated in the early ’90s, but again the US was negative enough on the idea to nix it. Japanese rearmament really got started as early as ’52 with the US organizing the “Junipers” (Japanese National Police Reserves, whose TO&E included M-24 tanks and 105mm howitzers), but the regional politics of that are tricky and the US has usually tried to reign it in.

    The Haruna class DDHs (helicopter destroyers, but with full decks reminiscent of at least an LPH) share the name of an Imperial battleship that was given a small flight deck during WW2. Izumo and her sister Kaga (sharing the name of one of the carriers involved in the Pearl Harbor attack) are enlarged versions of the same design.

    So this is pretty much the other shoe dropping, and all of a piece with Abe’s desires to reform the constiution and ditch the war renunciation clause. Sure, in many ways that will just be recognizing reality, but what’s worrisome is the broader context, like talk of replacing the language on rights of citizens with an emphasis on duty. Again, a valid point, but when elements of Nihon Kaigi (an influential nationalist organization to which Abe belongs) actually speak of restoring the Emperor’s divinity . . . well, it seems to have even freaked HIM out. A good argument can be made that his abdication bid is an attempt to torpedo that.

    Sigh. Yeah, not meaning this to excuse China’s behavior, but the Japanese have a bad habit of rocking the boat with them.

  • Thucydides_of_Athens

    If the Chinese were not sabre rattling around the Western Pacific and south China Sea, and not looking the other way as their lap dog DPRK made aggressive noises and gestures, then maybe the Japanese might not feel such steps are necessary.

  • Bob

    Climb Mount Niitaka !

  • Thalesourus

    There’s well over 100 container ships with decks longer than a US super carrier, five of which are operated by Japan.