When President Donald Trump visited Japan this month, he was taken on board JS Kaga, one of a pair of new Izumo-class helicopter carriers built for the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) set to be retrofitted to fly the F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter. The carriers represent a new approach to maritime security that is shifting to a more forward defense posture.
In March, the JMSDF took delivery of a new Soryu-class diesel-electric submarine (SSK). Named Shoryu, the SSK is the 10th out of an expected total of 14 boats of this class that will further enhance the submarine force’s already powerful sea-denial capability that can prevent adversary naval forces from approaching Japanese waters.
The JMSDF has a very specific role: to provide the full range of naval anti-air warfare (AAW) and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missions and an intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance (ISR) capability to defend Japan from the air and sub-surface threats presented by regional neighbors like China and North Korea. As such, the JMSDF has an inventory of powerful modern destroyers and submarines that can protect Japan and its maritime territory from any encroachment or attack.