Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer Kurama (L), which is carrying Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, leads the JMSDF fleet during its fleet review at Sagami Bay, off Yokosuka, south of Tokyo October 18, 2015. © Toru Hanai

Japan has showcased its naval strength, including Tokyo’s latest helicopter carrier Izumo. The commander of the US Third Fleet, which was recently given a greater role in the western Pacific, visited the event.

The Fleet Review of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) is held every three years. The display held on Sunday in Sagami Bay, southwest of Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, featured an armada of carriers, cruisers, destroyers and submarines.

The highlight of the show was Japan’s new 250 meter long helicopter carrier, the Izumo, the biggest warship Japan has built since World War II. Japan designates it a ‘helicopter destroyer’ rather than carrier to comply with the country’s pacifist constitution that renounces war and the threat of force as means to settle international disputes. Technically the country has no military and for numerous years, has not been building aircraft carriers, which are needed to wage war far from home soil.

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