Japan and the United States staged a naval show of strength off Tokyo Bay on Sunday as they flashed a pair of powerful, flat-deck warships perhaps just days before the U.S. Navy plans to challenge disputed Chinese claims to territory in the nearby South China Sea.
The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and the JS Izumo, the largest warship Japan has built since World War II, highlighted a seagoing review by Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force that included 36 warships and dozens of military aircraft.
Shortly after the ceremony, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became the first serving Japanese leader to board a U.S. aircraft carrier when he flew to the Ronald Reagan by helicopter.
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Although the Japanese fleet review is held every three years, it held added significance this year because of mounting tensions over artificial islands China has built in the South China Sea, as well as new defense legislation in Japan that eases decades-long restrictions on Japan’s military.
The Ronald Reagan arrived this month at its new homeport in Yokosuka, Japan. The ship recently completed a year-long modernization program and is considered one of the most powerful ships in the U.S. Navy. Its recent transfer to Japan is part of the U.S. “rebalance” to focus more on Asia.Read the rest of the story HERE and view a related video below:
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