Ever since the Battle of Tushima Strait in 1905 which sent shock waves around the world as the first time an Asian power overwhelmingly defeated a European power at sea, the result being two-thirds of the Russian fleet falling to the bottom of the Sea of Japan in only 12 hours, the Japanese Imperial Navy has had the respect of all navies around the world. Also, note that in WWII, the Japanese navy destroyed over 250 US vessels in battles around the Pacific in just 4 short years.
One US Admiral who fought against the Japanese in WWII was presented a medal from the Japanese Navy – out of respect for the Japanese he was buried with only one medal, only the one he received from his former enemy. After developing a relationship with his counterparts in the 1950s and 60s, his request was that they only fight on the side of the United Sates in future conflicts.
Currently, Japan has a fleet of 114 ships, 45,800 volunteer personnel, a fleet of fast, powerful destroyers, modern diesel-eletric attack submarines and state-of-the art amphibious ships that can haul tanks and ground forces. Right, now, Japan has the most modern and lethal navy in the Pacific, and many geopolitical strategists, George Friedman being one, strongly feel that Japan will remain the number one naval super power for decades to come.
But today, we at Classiarius have some strong views about the ability of Japan to project power in the South China Sea and the region, mainly using their “destroyers” as they are called. We pointed out in previous articles and discussions that Japan built the Izumo destroyers as an interesting flat-top destroyer.
Of course it was built for helicopters – the original purpose – but can be used for projection of power. We saw this coming, and of course reported it to you. Enter the new US made F-35, a vertical take-off and landing aircraft that can be used as a “mother ship” to check the assertiveness of the Chinese navy in the region. Japan is still studying the situation but we think that Japan could be preparing a deal with the US, as the two countries work closely together, to upgrade its capability, extending the protection of the island chain.
Have a look at the Izumo destroyer, designed and built over the past decade and think of ways that Japan can protect itself form outside threats in the region. Japan will have a powerful navy for decades to come.