I served in the US Navy at an intelligence gathering command. I was at a staff that flew a special plane. I saw this blurb recently and just had to chuckle. The funny part is a little further down. The United States has just sent her largest and most powerful warship, the Nimitz class United States Ship (USS) RONALD REGAN Aircraft Carrier, Nuclear Powered (CVN) 76 to be stationed in Japan in the SEVENTH FLEET area of responsibility. She will eventually have an escort of 14 additional ships stationed with her in Japan, and is a powerful symbol of America’s might and her commitment to the defense of Japan and that area. Like nearly every other nation’s aircraft carrier are less than half the size of the US carriers they can be properly called “supercarriers.” They are a modern marvel.
Many people suggest that we should not be involving ourselves in other countries disputes. I understand this line of reasoning, even though I do not always agree with it. If the US does not come to the Japanese defense against powerful enemies such as China, Russia, and North Korea than Japan will have to develop the capability to defend herself. The issue is that the pacifist constitution we forced them to accept, written in English forbids the Japanese from having a military. Thus, we have a quandary. The solution appears to be the Japanese to change their constitution slowly while building up their own military. Slowly so they don’t shock their people and neighbors into thinking they are returning to their aggressive, expansive military nation of before. To this, they have recently just had a very divisive change to their constitution to allow more “freedom” in military matters. Why can’t we put our congressional leaders in to cage matches like this? If we don’t want to fight their wars for them, our nation (and their nation) is going to have to be comfortable to see both Japan (dealing with China) and Germany (dealing with Russia) become world super-powers. Again.
One of the things the Japanese pacifist constitution, written in English by Americans specifically forbids is Japan having aircraft carriers and other “strategic” weapons. Basically the specific weapons it needs to protect itself as an island nation. This is because the Japanese proved to be very capable sailors. Thus, this has to be changed. To date, it has not been changed. Until their populace shows the political will to protect themselves, Japan is busy building “flat deck destroyers.” Recently the Japanese Ship (JS) Izumo Destroyer with an assigned Helicopter (DDH 183) first of her class, named for a War World II armored cruiser Izumo and the USS REGAN sailed, in formation to the former Japanese Imperial Naval Base Yokosuka, which is now the main US Navy base in Japan. Here is the video of the Japanese “flat deck destroyer” and the USS REGAN steaming in formation. Too funny.
The Izumo flight deck is completely clear, with all weapons located on sponsons off deck or on the island, it has a large, side mounted elevator on the aft, starboard side. Much larger than you need for the identified anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters. In addition, the hanger has been enlarged considerably, about twice the square footage as the previous “flat deck destroyer” the Hyuga class. These changes strongly imply that these vessels will embark vertical and/or short take-off and landing (VSTOL) aircraft, potentially the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Lighting II which the Japanese have recently purchased. These changes also make it clear that the Izumo will be able to support the V-22 Osprey VSTOL aircraft for troop transport.