1001 GMT February 25, 2020
America’s aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and Japan’s Izumo, Tokyo’s largest helicopter carrier, highlighted a seagoing review by Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force that included 36 warships and dozens of military aircraft.
The Fleet Review of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force is held every three years.
The display on Sunday, held southwest of Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, featured an armada of carriers, cruisers, destroyers and submarines.
Shortly after the ceremony, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became the first serving Japanese leader to board a US aircraft carrier when he flew to the Ronald Reagan by helicopter.
Japan’s government recently adopted controversial military bills which broaden the mandate of the country’s military forces, allowing them to participate in foreign operations in order to protect allies such as the United States even if there was no direct threat to Japan.
Opponents are concerned that the new laws would damage 70 years of pacifism as the revisions violate Japan’s 1945 constitution, which bars Tokyo from combat except in self-defense.
Japan’s new military laws drew fire from China in July, with Beijing calling on Tokyo not to jeopardize China’s sovereignty and security.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on July 16 that Beijing solemnly urges Tokyo to avoid “crippling regional peace and security” in East Asia.
The latest naval drill between the US and Japan follows years of territorial tensions in the East China Sea.