Amid Talk of Regionalism, Japan Expands Naval Power

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When, upon being elected, Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama spoke of building fraternal seas and constructing a European Union-styled East Asian Community, critics denounced him as a naive peacenik. But Hatoyama’s low-profile Nov. 23 decision to commission a new DDH-22 helicopter destroyer — Japan’s largest military vessel since World War II — suggests he is actually striking a shrewd balance between promoting regionalism and protecting Japan’s regional and global interests through robust naval capabilities. The DDH-22 is officially designated as a “helicopter-carrying destroyer” by Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Forces (MSDF). But with its flush flight deck and large, starboard-side island […]

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