Japan to speed up frigate build to reinforce East China Sea

Japan plans to accelerate a warship building program to make two frigates a year to patrol the fringes of the East China Sea, where it disputes island ownership with China, three people with knowledge of the plan said.

Japan previously was building one 5,000-ton class destroyer a year, but will now make two 3,000-ton class ships a year, beginning from the April 2018 fiscal year, the people said, declining to be identified as they are not authorized to talk to the media.

It aims to produce a fleet of eight of the new class of smaller, cheaper vessels, which may also have mine-sweeping and anti-submarine capability.
Naval shipyard operators including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan Marine United Corp (JMU) and Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding are expected to bid for the work, the people said.

Japan and China dispute ownership of a group of islands in the East China Sea, about 220 km (140 miles) northeast of Taiwan. In Japan, they are known as the Senkakus, while China calls them the Diaoyu islands.

Senior Japanese military officials have said they are concerned that China may seek to increase its influence in the East China Sea around Japan’s southern Okinawa island chain. Japan provides military aid to Southeast Asian countries including the Philippines and Vietnam that oppose China’s territorial claims in the neighboring South China Sea.

reuters.com/article/us-japan-navy-frigates-idUSKBN15W13S?il=0

It’s probably time Japan changes Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.

japan needs to build or buy an aircraft carrier

Half a dozen would be better.

Japan doesn’t need aircraft carriers in that area. Just as Midway and Tinian and Okinawa was they too are an island base for aircraft and so these modern warships will suffice. Their time frame may ultimately prove to be too little too late…:frowning:

Japan already has a fleet of cruiser type ships equipped with anti-ballistic missile missiles.

They typically deploy one or two at a time, but may increase the number of ships they keep on patrol.

Japan also has designed several custom-made maritime patrol airplanes.

Right. Japan had initial plans for larger frigates yet the smaller frigates make sense since they need them ASAP to maintain a larger presence in the S China Sea, especially around the Senkaku Islands.

PM Abe noted increasing Japanese defense spending. However with Japan’s currently operating from sort of a reinterpretation of the Japanese Constitution – Japan is still heavily relying on the US; which may be why China is not taking Japan as seriously.

This is true, and why I think the best way to counter China is actually to back off military aid to Japan and South Korea. China would much rather have those two nations be weak and dependent on the US than much more independent and well-armed.

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