An aerial view shows Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)’s multi-purpose destroyer Izumo (DDH-183) leading the fleet during the International Fleet Review to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the JMSDF, at Sagami Bay, off Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, Japan November 6, 2022, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/ via REUTERS
As North Korea launches a record number of missiles and China puts more pressure on Taiwan, Japan held its first international fleet review in seven years on Sunday with ships from 12 other countries.
38 ships, including 18 from friendly nations like the United States, South Korea, Britain, Australia, Singapore, India, and Thailand, participated in the naval demonstration in Sagami Bay near Tokyo. A total of 33 aircraft, including helicopters and patrol planes capable of looking for submarines, were in the sky.
“We must ready for those who violate rules and who would use force to trample on the peace and security of other nations,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a speech on the Japanese helicopter carrier Izumo. “We will formulate a new national security strategy by year end and drastically strengthen our defence capabilities.”
Before departing for the United States, Kishida received dignitaries on the Izumo. Senior navy officers and ambassador Rahm Emanuel will meet on the navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.
“What upsets China most is we have allies, they are expansive and extensive,” Emanuel said after accompanying Kishida on a tour of the Ronald Reagan.
Within five years, Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party has vowed to boost Japan’s defense spending to 2% of GDP.
As relations between the neighbors heal following a dispute over reparations for wartime laborers and Korean women forced to work in Japanese military brothels that had threatened to derail increased collaboration between the two U.S. allies, South Korea decided to participate in Japan’s celebration.
After Seoul urged it not to fly the rising sun pennant, which Seoul considers as a symbol of Japanese wartime aggression, Japan refused to participate in South Korea’s fleet review in 2018. Tokyo turned down South Korea’s invitation to a scheduled 2019 review.
As North Korea ramps up its missile tests, both nations have become closer. On Thursday, a suspected long-range missile sparked an alarm for people of central and northern Japan to seek shelter.
China declined the invitation to participate in the assessment despite criticizing Japan’s intentions for defense spending. Because of its invasion of Ukraine, Russia was not invited.
by: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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