Japan to get first post-WWII aircraft carriers
JAPAN will get its first aircraft carriers since World War II and buy dozens of fighter jets under a new defense plan approved Tuesday that is intended to counter China’s growing military power.
The new five-year defense plan calls for the upgrade of two existing helicopter carriers so that they can launch fighters, and is the latest in a series of steps under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to boost Japan’s military.
Abe’s government argues the efforts are necessary given growing defense challenges in the region, including tensions with North Korea, and particularly “strong concerns” about the expansion of China’s military footprint.
But the move is controversial, with critics arguing it shifts Tokyo further away from its commitment to strictly defensive capabilities under Japan’s post-World War II pacifist constitution.
“We will secure both the quantity and quality of defense capability that is necessary… to meet the rapidly changing security environment,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular press briefing on Tuesday.
“We believe this is within… what is allowed under the constitution.”
The five-year plan approved Tuesday assumes record defense spending of 27.47 trillion yen ($244 billion) through March 2024.
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