Japan destroyer leaves port reportedly to escort US warships

04 May, 2017, 00:29 | Author: Elaine Woods
  • Japan Maritime Self Defense Forces helicopter carrier Izumo seen at its Yokosuka Base in Kanagawa prefecture. Kazuhiro Nogi AFP

While the ship appears very similar to a US aircraft carrier, it does not have the capability to launch conventional military jets.

Post-World War Two, Japan barred its military from using force to resolve conflicts except in cases of self defense.

The helicopter carrier Izumo departed from the Yokosuka port near Tokyo in the morning.

After the mission, Izumo and Sazanami are scheduled to participate in an worldwide naval review scheduled to be held in Singapore on May 15.

On Sunday, Japanese defense minister Tomomi Inada gave orders to send the helicopter carrier Izumo to sea as an escort to protect a U.S. Navy supply ship, which is on its way to provide fuel to the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group.

The protection mission can be conducted in various situations, including when the two countries are engaged in joint exercises or monitoring and information-gathering activities related to North Korean missile launches.

Japan sends biggest warship to protect United States supply vessel
Furthermore, escorting the USA ship was not the main mission, as the MSDF vessels were on their way to the event in Singapore. An embassy official said Mike Pompeo and his wife were in the South Korean capital on Monday, but wouldn't say for how long.

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Meanwhile, the Japanese public remains divided over whether to amend the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Pacifist Constitution, which marks its 70th anniversary on Wednesday.

Since then, Japan has become one of the United States' most important allies in Asia. He remains opposed to the use of weapons, but is also realistic about current circumstances.

The 19,500-tonne ship will escort a U.S. supplies vessel towards the island of Shikoku, before beginning a three-month voyage, in what will be its first such mission in over 70 years. The government just wanted to put the legislation into practice.

In recent weeks, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis have made separate trips to Seoul reaffirming an alliance with South Korea under President Trump in the face of growing North Korean threats. "In this way, I think Japan is heading toward taking part in a US-led war", he said. It is particularly significant because it represents the first time a warship is being used to aid an allied force since the country's Parliament passed legislation authorizing overseas combat missions.

"It was an excessive reaction that the subway trains were stopped in Tokyo", a 46-year-old third-generation Korean resident of Japan said, adding, "The problem is the Japanese government and public administrations have fanned fears too much".

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