Japan and Expanded Maritime ‘Self-Defence’ Force Operations

In recent months Japan has revised its post-WW II constitution/national security laws to allow it to take more robust military actions, particularly in the maritime arena. This, Japan argues, is in response to increased aggression on the part of China, although China would explain it differently. On 1 May, Izumo, a Maritime Self-Defence Force helicopter carrier, and one of Japan’s largest warships, escorted a US Navy warship in Japanese waters. This was the first such operation during peacetime since the national security laws were revised, and illustrates yet another element of the tensions in the Asia-Pacific region. While North Korea is the focus of most attention right now, there are other simmering tensions. See Japan Times, “MSDF warship to escort U.S. supply vessel in first since security laws’ passage,” at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/04/30/national/politics-diplomacy/msdf-vessel-sent-guard-u-s-ship-first-time-peacetime/#.WQy4gU2NQeh

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