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Japan to use aircraft carriers for the first time since World War II

The aircraft carriers will be home base for US-made F-35 fighter jets that Japan plans to purchase

TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images

Japan plans to buy fighter jets from the United States to place on the first aircraft carriers it will deploy since the end of World War II.

What are the details?

Since the end of World War II, Japan has been restricted regarding how much it can develop its own military. It has largely had to rely on other nations, including the United States, for its own defense. However, since this agreement was first signed, Japan has periodically been granted more freedom over its own national defense.

On Tuesday, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced that "under the drastically changing security environment around Japan, the government will take all possible measures to protect the lives and assets of Japanese people."

"The review of the new defense guideline is extremely meaningful to show the Japanese people and the world what is truly necessary in our defense to protect the people and to serve as the cornerstone of the future," he added.

Japan is preparing two Izumo-class warships to hold 42 F-35B fighter jets that it plans to buy from the United States. The two ships, the JS Izumo and JS Kaga, had previously been used to carry helicopters for potential anti-submarine warfare. They are currently the largest ships in Japan's fleet. This project is expected to cost the Japanese government $282.4 billion over the first five years.

In addition to the aircraft carriers and fighter jets, Japan will also be acquiring long range cruise missiles. It will also order additional F-35A fighter jets from the United States. These purchases and upgrades will take place over the next decade.

Why now?

Japan has expressed concern about Chinese aggression, and North Korea's apparent unwillingness to denuclearize.

China has strongly objected to the move. The state-run Global Times newspaper warned, "Japan must not forget its infamous history of invading countries and regions in the Asia-Pacific region during WWII."

One last thing…
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