BEIJING has issued a stark warning to Tokyo to not go ahead with plans to put F-35 Stealth jets aboard aircraft carriers, claiming the move would “drive the country to repeat its militaristic history”.
Since the end of World War II, Japan’s military has functioned as a self defence unit, with the US keeping eye on the once militarised nation following its surrender at the end of conflict on September 2, 1945. But now a Chinese news agency has reportedly responded to Tokyo’s decision to modify an aircraft carrier – the JS Izumo helicopter carrier – to carry F-35B fighter jets. The fighter planes are said to cost a total of $8.8billion (£6.8billion), with the value of each jet said to be $88million (£68million).
The Express Reports:
Sources familiar with the process claim the addition of the fighter jets – which can take off and land vertically – would upend the balance of power in Asia.
Asia Times reported the modification of the ship to carry the Stealth fighter jets would change the boats from self-defence tools to full-fledged assets for military expansion.
On Thursday, according to Japanese news agency Asahi Shimbun, the plan to buy 100 of the stealth fighter jets was “aspirational” and said that in reality Tokyo was planning to buy “around 40” of the US produced jets.
But a source confirmed to CNN that the expansion will include 100 F-35s – 40 of which are F-35B variants.
The source said the move will mark the first time JApan has harnessed this type of military capability since the end of World War II.
They told CNN: “With short take-off vertical landing capability you are now able to operate at sea. You are able to penetrate areas and reach ranges in a shorter distance which is an important capability.”
On Wednesday, Japanese Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya told a briefing that Japan wished to acquire a “highly competent fighter jet” and confirmed the defence ministry was working towards modifying 27,000-ton Izumo-class destroyers to carry fighter jets.
Mr Takeshi told reporters: “Since this is valuable equipment that we already own, I think it would be desirable to use it for as many purposes as possible.”
Chinese military analyst Song Zhongping told Asia Times: “By having the F-35B on its carriers, Japan will be asked to play a bigger role in the US’ global military strategy to the extent that Japan might be able to deploy its troops around the world.”
Asia Times also reported that an unnamed military expert claimed: “Japan must not forget its infamous history of invading countries and regions in the Asia-Pacific region during the WWII.”
Japan’s mid-term defence maintenance plan comes up for approval by the cabinet, lead by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in December.
From The Express