INTERVIEW: Izumo's Revamp within Defense-Oriented Policy

Society

Tokyo, Dec. 29 (Jiji Press)--The planned conversion of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's Izumo destroyer into a de facto aircraft carrier conforms with Japan's exclusively defense-oriented policy, the top uniformed SDF officer has said.

In addition, the revamp "will enhance the flexibility" of the vessel, said Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, chief of staff at the SDF Joint Staff.

The revamped Izumo is expected to strengthen the country's air defense system for the Pacific Ocean by carrying cutting-edge F-35B stealth fighters with short take-off and vertical landing capabilities, Kawano said in a recent interview.

He also defended the capability to attack enemy bases that the Izumo will acquire through the conversion. Regarding how to operate the vessel, he only said the government "will formulate a plan later."

The government's new National Defense Program Guidelines, adopted Dec. 18, have marked a "very big step," Kawano said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press