Benjamin Brimelow Oct 8, 2021, 9:14 AM
A US Marine Corps F-35B lands aboard Japanese light aircraft carrier Izumo,
October 3, 2021. US Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Tyler Harmon
This month, US Marine Corps F-35Bs landed on and took off aboard Japanese warship Izumo. It was the first time a fixed-wing aircraft has operated from a Japanese aircraft carrier in 75 years. The milestone reflects Japan's growing focus on countering China and its close work with allies to do so.
As China increases the size and capability of its military, Japan has responded by adapting its Self-Defense Force to meet what it sees as a growing threat.
Japan has created its first amphibious military unit since World War II and launched a new class of high-tech frigates, and it's restructuring its tank force to be lighter and more mobile and building up its missile capabilities.
Perhaps the most eye-opening move, though, is the conversion of its two Izumo-Class helicopter carriers into dedicated aircraft carriers.
On Sunday, two US Marine Corps F-35Bs landed on and took off from the deck of the Izumo, the lead ship of the class — the first time a fixed-wing aircraft has operated from a Japanese carrier in 75 years.
The test is just the first step toward Japan getting its first carriers since World War II.