In maybe the biggest show of force since the War World 2, Japan decided to dispatch its biggest warship on a 3 month tour through the disputed waters of the South China Sea.
The warship in question is a helicopter carrier, the Izumo respectively and according to sources speaking to Yahoo News, the Japanese warship will be cruising the area starting from May.
Currently speaking, China is claiming the vast majority of the disputed territories in the South China Sea and it boosted its military presence in the area significantly in the past years. China’s perceived expansionism worried the United States and Japan alike, whit the US navy holding naval and air patrols in the area on a regular basis for ensuring freedom of navigation.
The Japanese helicopter carrier is a state of the art piece of gear, commissioned not 2 years ago and it will make stops in Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and the Philippines before the final rendez vous with US and Indian naval vessels in the Indian Ocean for attending the Malabar joint naval exercise in July.
According to sources, the Izumo will return to Japan in August:
“The aim is to test the capability of the Izumo by sending it out on an extended mission,It will train with the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea,”
The sources spoke under the condition of anonymity as they’re not authorized to disclose such intel to the media. Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force declined to comment on these allegations. Besides China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei are also claiming portions of the South China Sea which are rich in natural resources, ranging from oil and gas to fishing grounds.
Japan deploying its best warship to the disputed territories can be perceived as a consequence of President Trump’s hard stance on China. The US administration is known for criticizing China’s expansion in the South China sea via constructing artificial islands together with the development of military installations on the respective islands, which may be used in the future for restricting free movement.
The Izumo is a 816 ft/249 meters long helicopter carrier which can deploy up to 9 helicopters, being designated as a destroyer due to Japan’s Constitution that forbids the country from acquiring offensive weapons.