Daily News

6. LDP to propose introducing F-35B fighters

Japan's main governing Liberal Democratic Party plans to propose introducing F-35B fighter jets and a multi-purpose aircraft carrier to be operated under the country's defense-only stance.

The government is to review the National Defense Program Guidelines this year for the first time in 5 years.

On Tuesday, the LDP panel on national security compiled a set of proposals to be considered.

The panel stressed the need to enhance Japan's defense capabilities both in quality and quantity. It said North Korea's nuclear and missile development and China's military buildup and growing maritime presence are creating a security crisis.

The panel will call for procuring a multi-purpose aircraft carrier that can also serve as a hospital ship. It will be operated solely for defense purposes. Retrofitting of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's destroyer Izumo is to be listed as an option.

The panel also wants the Defense Ministry to acquire advanced F-35B stealth planes, which can take off from short runways.

Panel chair Gen Nakatani suggested Japan must become able to hit back at enemy bases.

The LDP plans to submit the proposals to the government for discussion in late May.