Japan's biggest warship to escort U.S. supply vessel
This is the first such operation during peacetime under Japan’s national security laws as tensions mount in the region over North Korea, government sources said Sunday.
Following an order from Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, the Izumo will escort a U.S. Navy supply ship from waters off the Boso Peninsula, in Chiba Prefecture, to the area off Shikoku, according to the sources.
The Self-Defense Forces were newly assigned with guarding U.S. warships during peacetime under the new security laws that came into force in March last year.
The laws primarily enable Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense, or coming to the aid of an ally under attack, and expand the scope of SDF activities overseas.
The 249-meter-long Izumo is as large as Japan’s WWII-era carriers and can operate up to nine helicopters.
It resembles the amphibious assault carriers used by the U.S. military but lacks their well deck for launching landing craft and other vessels. ■