Published: Thu, May 04, 2017
Markets | By Lucia Cruz

Second MSDF destroyer joins mission to protect U.S. Navy ship

Second MSDF destroyer joins mission to protect U.S. Navy ship

Japan is sending its largest warship to protect a USA vessel as it resupplies the strike group led by carrier Carl Vinson amid tensions with North Korea.

Its mission is said to be supplying ammunition and fuel to U.S. military ships in the west Pacific and Indian Ocean, which is covered by the U.S. 7th Fleet based at the U.S. Navy's Yokosuka base in Kanagawa Prefecture.

The Izumo is only protecting the American ship within Japanese waters, but it's still a big break from tradition for the nation's military.

The largest vessel in Japan's navy, the Izumo is as large as Japan's WWII-era aircraft carriers and can operate up to nine helicopters. It is particularly significant because it represents the first time a warship is being used to aid an allied force since the country's Parliament passed legislation authorizing overseas combat missions.

The dispatch of the Carl Vinson was a "reckless action of the war maniacs aimed at an extremely unsafe nuclear war", the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, said in a commentary on Saturday.

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"If the USA administration of Donald Trump engages in a military attack on North Korea, it will have a destructive impact on regional peace and stability, and there is danger Japan will have to engage in the war", the Japanese politician said.

The constitution states that the Japanese people "forever renounce war" and ban the "use of force" as a means of settling global disputes.

Under revised security laws, members of Japan's Self-Defence Forces are allowed to use their weapons to protect armaments and other equipment of the units of USA forces and armed forces of other countries that are engaged in activities contributing to the defence of Japan. A poll published Monday by Kyodo News showed that respondents were almost equally split on the question of whether that pacifist clause should be revised.

South Korea said the United States had reaffirmed it would shoulder the cost of deploying THAAD, days after Trump said Seoul should pay for the $1 billion battery created to defend against North Korea.

North Korea is "mostly bluffing its military capability, and the missile scare is further hyped up largely by TV", said Hiroki Fujii, a 40-year-old utility employee who lives near Yokota.

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