Japan unveils largest warship since WWII as tensions with China grow

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independent.co.uk — Aug 07
Japan has unveiled its biggest warship since the Second World War, leading to fears that the conflict over disputed islands between it and China could escalate.
The 19,500-tonne behemoth, described as a destroyer but with the capacity to carry up to 14 helicopters on its 250m (820ft) long flight deck, has also been criticised as a disguised attempt to boost the country’s offensive military capabilities – strictly limited by its constitution.Japanese officials said the primary function of the ship would be in national defence. It is specially designed for anti-submarine warfare, and is expected to play an integral role in border surveillance.

The ship, which cost $1.2 billion, is also intended to be capable of assisting in humanitarian response missions. It will be used to transport evacuees, emergency services personnel and supplies in the event of large-scale natural disasters like the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

But many see the unveiling of the destroyer now – dubbed “Izumo” – as a direct response to the disputed land between Japan and Taiwan. The islands, called the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyutai in China, have for months seen almost constant patrols by ships from both countries.

海上自衛隊創設以来最大となるヘリコプター搭載護衛艦の進水式が、6日、神奈川・横浜­市で行われ、「いずも」と命名された。



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