14:47 GMT +319 December 2018
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    A helicopter lands on the Izumo, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force's (JMSDF) helicopter carrier, at JMSDF Yokosuka base in Yokosuka

    Japan May Get Its First Aircraft Carrier, Allegedly Violating Constitution

    © REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon
    Asia & Pacific
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    Tokyo is considering upgrading its Izumo-class helicopter destroyers in order to accommodate fighter jets, The Nikkei reported Tuesday. The news came amid other reports issued by Japanese media outlets that Japan is planning to announce a hefty purchase of American F-35 stealth fighter jets.

    Japan is going to include its plans to remodel the Izumo-class carriers in the new National Defence Program Guidelines, which are to be issued in mid-December, according to The Nikkei newspaper.

    The move, critics say, could violate the constitutional provision on the ‘renunciation of war', incorporated in the corresponding Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.

    'Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as another war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized', Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan reads. 

    Japan's government had earlier held the view that the possession of 'offensive aircraft carriers' could be perceived as offensive, thus violating the pacifist constitution.

    The upgraded Izumo-class destroyers would reportedly be used to defend its distant islands in the Pacific, according to Asahi Shimbun. This corresponds to a statement made by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in September, according to which sophisticated military equipment would be 'important to strengthen Japan's defences'.

    The move was made amid China boosting its military presence in the region, concern over which was expressed in Japan's latest Defence White Paper. 

    READ MORE: US, Japan Plan Armed Response to "Chinese Threat" to Disputed Islands – Reports

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    Tags:
    Constitution, upgrade, aircraft carrier, Japan, Asia
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