Japan’s Biggest Warship Offers Clue To Military Ambitions

Associated Press – One of Japan’s largest warships, the helicopter carrier Izumo, offers a glimpse of where its military is headed: For the first time, troops from a newly formed amphibious brigade of Japan’s army participated in an extended naval deployment.

The Combat Information Center In Japan’s New Frigate Is Like A Starship’s Bridge

War Zone – The innovative round design that is wrapped in screens looks like it came right out of Starfleet’s Utopia Planitia shipyard.

Much to China’s ire, Japan’s regional influence is becoming the norm

Defense News – Japan is continuing to enhance its security presence in Asia and the western Pacific, as the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to continue defense posture reforms and counter China’s military activities in the region.

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Expanding as Tokyo Takes New Approach to Maritime Security

USNI News – When President Donald Trump visited Japan this month, he was taken on board JS Kaga, one of a pair of new Izumo-class helicopter carriers built for the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) set to be retrofitted to fly the F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter. The carriers represent a new approach to maritime security that is shifting to a more forward defense posture.

U.S., Japan, India and Philippines challenge Beijing with naval drills in the South China Sea

Reuters – In fresh show of naval force in the contested South China Sea, a U.S. guided missile destroyer conducted drills with a Japanese aircraft carrier, two Indian naval ships and a Philippine patrol vessel in the waterway claimed by China.

Here’s Everything We Know About The Ongoing Search For Japan’s Crashed F-35

War Zone – The search and rescue effort continues for the F-35 and its pilot with a Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force submarine rescue vessel joining the effort.

Japan inks deal with Kongsberg for F-35 standoff missile

Defense News – Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace has entered into a contract with Japan to supply the initial deliveries of anti-ship Joint Strike Missiles for the country’s fleet of F-35 Lightning II fighter jets.

Accusations fly between South Korea and Japan over ‘threatening’ maritime maneuvers

Defense News – Japan has tried to draw the line under its dispute with South Korea over allegations one of the latter’s Navy ship directed its fire control radar against a Japanese patrol aircraft, but the regional allies of the U.S. have almost immediately become embroiled in a fresh controversy, with South Korea accusing another Japanese aircraft at making a “threatening” low-altitude pass over its ships.

With massive F-35 increase, Japan is now biggest international buyer

Defense News – Japan will officially increase its order of F-35 joint strike fighters, including procurement of the F-35B model for use at sea.

Aegis Ashore Scores Another Hit As US, Japan Build Up Defenses

Breaking Defense – By 2021, plans call for Japan to have eight Aegis destroyers, four of them capable of launching the SM-3 Block IIA missiles, whose second successful test in a row comes as a vindication after two previous failures.

What World War I Tells Us About a China-Japan War Today

National Interest – Consider what the Great War has to say about the military balance between China and Japan and how an East Asian war might unfold. Conventional opinion in Japan has long held that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would more or less steamroller the Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) in wartime. Demographics, economics, defense budgets, you name it: they all line up on China’s side.

The Chinese vessel we encountered during a fuelling drill

Straits Times – What it is like for the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force to operate in the South China Sea.

U.S. carrier leads warships in biggest ever Japan defense war game

Reuters – U.S. fighter jets darted over the Western Pacific on Saturday as the nuclear powered USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier joined Japanese destroyers and a Canadian warship for the biggest combat readiness war game ever staged in and around Japan.

Japan Is Taking A Two-Step Approach To Fielding Its First Operational Hypersonic Weapons

War Zone – The Japanese are rushing to develop the weapons amid concerns about increasing Chinese encroachment on their territorial claims.

Japanese Amphibious Soldiers Hit the Beach in the Philippines with U.S. Marines, 7th Fleet

USNI News – It was no ordinary beach assault when troops took off on amphibious assault vehicles from a U.S. Navy ship and raced ashore in a training exercise with U.S. Marines. That’s because the landing onto a Philippine beach by Japanese soldiers from their AAV-P7/A1 amtracs marked a significant step in bolstering Japan’s capabilities of its nascent Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade.

Fastidious Flattop: Japanese helicopter carrier wages daily war on dirt and grime

Reuters – Japan’s Kaga helicopter carrier is not the biggest, fastest or most powerful warship to sail the seas, but its 500 crew wage a daily war on dirt and grime to keep it the cleanest.

Japan’s women sailors serve on frontline of gender equality

Reuters – Women serving on Japan’s biggest warship, the Kaga, are a tight-knit group on the frontline of a push to transform the Japanese navy into a mixed-gender fighting force, where men outnumber them more than 10 to one.

Japanese submarine conducts first drills in South China Sea

Reuters – A Japanese submarine has for the first time joined a naval drill in the South China Sea in an expansion of Japanese activity in the disputed waterway claimed by China and others.

Japanese destroyer shoots down ballistic missile off Hawaii

Defense News – Japanese Aegis destroyer Atago detected and shot down a short-range ballistic missile in space Tuesday in a joint test with the U.S. Navy using the SM-3 Block IB missile.

Annual White Paper on Defense

Japanese Ministry of Defense – An excellent look at how the Japanese see the Chinese threat to Japan.

Japan’s Defense Readiness: Prospects and Issues in Operationalizing Air and Maritime Supremacy

US Naval War College Review – Facing a fluid regional security environment and the need to strengthen its alliance role, Japan has worked to increase the capabilities of the Japan Self-Defense Forces by adjusting the relevant bureaucratic, political, and operational frameworks and making key investments in new force structures.

Japan’s New Super-Sized Destroyer Will Help Defend Against Ballistic Missiles And More

War Zone – The pair of ships could shoot down North Korea missiles, as well as challenge Chinese claims and aid Japan in projecting power beyond its shores.

Japanese helicopter carrier Kaga to embark on two-month tour of South China Sea and Indian Ocean

Japan Times – Japan will send a large helicopter carrier to the South China Sea and Indian Ocean for a second straight year as it looks to bolster its presence in the strategic maritime region with annual tours.

Japan activates first marines since WWII to bolster defenses against China

Reuters – Japan on Saturday activated its first marine unit since World War II trained to counter invaders occupying Japanese islands along the edge of the East China Sea that Tokyo fears are vulnerable to attack by China.

Japan launches amphibious unit, but equipping concerns remain

Defense News – Japan has launched its first full-scale amphibious operations unit as part of a sweeping reorganization of its ground force, but questions remain about equipment delays and future basing.