Izumo suggests revival of Japanese militarism: PLA admiral
Japan’s new helicopter destroyer was named Izumo, a term which, according to Rear Admiral Li Jie of the PLA Navy, symbolizes the revival of Japanese militarism. He explained this sentiment to Chinese nationalist tabloid, the Global Times, during an interview on Mar. 26.
Li said that Izumo is very likely to be used in operations against Chinese submarines. At the same time, it can be used to carry out amphibious warfare over the disputed Diaoyutai islands. The vessel can also protect Japanese communication lines and transport lanes in the South China Sea. He said that a naval conflict between China and Japan at open sea may happen in near future thanks to the new craft’s commissioning.
In addition to the possibility of Izumo being modified into an aircraft carrier, Li said that the name of the ship itself symbolizes the revival of Japanese militarism. The first Izumo was a Japanese navy cruiser purchased from the United Kingdom back in 1897. Li said that Japan ordered this vessel with the indemnity it received from China after the First Sino-Japanese War which took place between 1894 and 1895.
After its participation in the Russo-Japanese War and World War I, Izumo once served as the command ship for Emperor Taisho. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Izumo was deployed against the Kuomintang army in Shanghai as the flagship of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Third Fleet. It was attacked several times by bombers and torpedo boats from the Republic of China Air Force and Navy. Eventually, a US carrier-based aircraft sank the vessel during the bombing of Kure on July of 1945.
Zhang Junshe, a Chinese military expert said that Izumo alone does not pose a threat to China’s maritime expansion in the Asia-Pacific region. However, it will affect submarine operations for the PLA Navy in the East China Sea. The Izumo is capable of enhancing the joint strike capability of the Japanese ground, naval and air force in a potential war against China by serving as a command or transport ship, Zhang told the Global Times.