Defense Ministry studying how to carry F-35s on Izumo-class helicopter carriers
Japan Times -- Mar 03
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Friday his ministry is studying whether F-35B fighter jets can be deployed on Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter carriers, a move likely to be viewed as yet another signal Japan is retreating from its strictly defense-oriented military posture.

Under the postwar Constitution, the government has maintained it cannot possess “attack aircraft carriers” because they are could be deemed offensive weapons exceeding the “minimum force” needed for Japan to protect itself.

Japan has flat-topped destroyers that carry helicopters, but not fighter aircraft.

Onodera emphasized at a Diet committee that the study involving the helicopter carrier Izumo, Japan’s largest naval vessel, is being conducted for the purpose of “basic information gathering” and not “on a premise that F-35Bs will be introduced.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was attending the committee meeting, supported the study.

News source: Japan Times
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