OpinionMeister

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Japanese Navy Not Like Their "Army"

Strategy Page has a report on the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, which it calls the second best navy in the Pacific. Link.
The JMSDF (Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force) is arguably the second-best navy in the Pacific, trailing only the United States Navy. The JMSDF has a large number of modern surface warships and the third-largest submarine force in the Pacific, and it could be a potential player in any fight in the Formosa Strait, due to the fact that Japan’s ties with Taiwan have become much closer.

The primary surface vessels in the JMSDF are the destroyers. Japan’s had a long tradition of building a superb destroyer force – in World War II, their destroyers were arguably the best in the world. (...)

Japan’s other major asset is its large force of advanced diesel-electric submarines (eighteen subs). The Yuushio, Harushio, and Oyashiro classes displace anywhere from 2,450 tons to 3,000 tons. Each carry six 21-inch torpedo tubes, with a total of 20 weapons (either Harpoon anti-ship missiles or Type 89 torpedoes). These subs would be a potent force against the Chinese Navy.

I guess we should not be surprised that an archipelago nation that can afford a good navy has one, but given their minimum land self defense forces, I was surprised. A lot has been written about Japan freeloading on a US defense umbrella (as has Europe), so it is good to read that they are sharing some of the defense burden where it matters most to them, on the Pacific Ocean.

I had a post on 2/23 titled US-Japan Common Front on Taiwan Strait. Without knowing how good the Japanese Navy was, I still said that this was a big deal, based on Japan's regional economic power and prestige. With a good navy thrown in as well, it is REALLY a big deal.

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