Japan Debuts Biggest Warship Since WWII Era

Izumo weighs in at 19.5K tons
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2013 10:00 AM CDT
Japan Debuts Biggest Warship Since WWII Era
Japan on Tuesday unveiled its biggest warship since World War II, a huge flat-top destroyer that has raised eyebrows in China because it bears a strong resemblance to a conventional aircraft carrier.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

Japan has unveiled its largest warship since World War II—and China sees the move as the naval equivalent of Japan thumping its chest. The $1.23 billion Izumo is a 19,500-ton vessel equipped with what Time calls "a conspicuously large flight deck" capable of carrying 14 helicopters; the country's two other helicopter carriers weigh in at 13,950 tons apiece and can hold 11 copters. An official tells the Wall Street Journal it will be used for peacekeeping, disaster, and anti-submarine operations. But China, which lays claim to the Senkaku Islands Japan controls, believes otherwise.

One Chinese editorial pointed out that the Izumo is named after a WWII ship involved in the invasion of China, reports Bloomberg; a second editorial called the ship a "symbol of Japan’s strong wish to return to its time as a military power." The day after Japan's Tuesday unveiling, a handful of Chinese ships began what was a 28-hour period spent in the waters off the Senkakus in the East China Sea; it's the longest such occurrence since September, the New York Times reports. The warship is expected to begin operating in March 2015. (More Japan stories.)

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