World War 3: China Warns Tokyo Against Modifying Ships to Carry F-35s. BEIJING has issued a stark warning to Tokyo to not go ahead with plans to put F-35 Stealth jets aboard aircraft carriers, claiming the move would “drive the country to repeat its militaristic history”.
The Japanese government reached an agreement to buy 100 F-35s, Nikkei Asian Review reported this week, citing sources. Some of the aircraft to be included in the package are F-35B short takeoff vertical lift fighter jets, which are ideally suited for sea-based operations. In order for Japan to accommodate the F-35B, the Maritime Self-Defense Force would have to retrofit some of its ships.
Upgrading the Izumo-class ships would change them from self-defense assets into tools for military expansion, the Chinese Foreign Ministry claimed on Thursday, as reported by Asia Times.
The F-35 deal supposedly in the works would increase the number of fifth-generation aircraft destined for the Japanese Self-Defense Force from 42 to 142
Tokyo seeks to modernize half of its aging F-15 fleet while replacing the rest with F-35s.
WHY JAPAN’S DECISION TO BUY 42 F-35Bs FROM U.S HAS GOT CHINA VERY WORRIED?
According to Japanese news agency Asahi Shimbun, the plan to buy 100 of the stealth fighter jets was “aspirational” and said that in reality, Tokyo was planning to buy “around 40” of the US produced jets.
But a source confirmed to CNN that the expansion will include 100 F-35s – 40 of which are F-35B variants.
Since the end of World War II, Japan’s military has functioned as a self defence unit, with the US keeping eye on the once militarised nation following its surrender at the end of conflict on September 2, 1945. But now a Chinese news agency has reportedly responded to Tokyo’s decision to modify an aircraft carrier – the JS Izumo helicopter carrier – to carry F-35B fighter jets. The fighter planes are said to cost a total of $8.8billion (£6.8billion), with the value of each jet said to be $88million (£68million).
The source said the move will mark the first time Japan has harnessed this type of military capability since the end of World War II.
They told CNN: “With short take-off vertical landing capability you are now able to operate at sea. You are able to penetrate areas and reach ranges within a shorter distance which is an important capability.”
On Wednesday, Japanese Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya told a briefing that Japan wished to acquire a “highly competent fighter jet” and confirmed the defence ministry was working towards modifying 27,000-ton Izumo-class destroyers to carry fighter jets.
Mr Takeshi told reporters: “Since this is valuable equipment that we already own, I think it would be desirable to use it for as many purposes as possible.”
Chinese military analyst Song Zhongping told Asia Times: “By having the F-35B on its carriers, Japan will be asked to play a bigger role in the US’ global military strategy to the extent that Japan might be able to deploy its troops around the world.”
Asia Times also reported that an unnamed military expert claimed: “Japan must not forget its infamous history of invading countries and regions in the Asia-Pacific region during the WWII.”
Japan’s mid-term defence maintenance plan comes up for approval by the cabinet, lead by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in December.