TOKYO, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- "Modifying the destroyer Izumo and turning it to an aircraft carrier is in total violation of Japan's defense-only policy, and people should be alarmed about such a move," said well-known Japanese military critic Tetsuo Maeda in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Japanese media have reported recently that the government is considering modifying its flat-topped destroyer Izumo and turn it to an aircraft carrier from which fighter jets can take off and land.
The government is also planning to buy F-35B fighter jets, which are capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings, and put them on the carrier, said local media reports quoting government sources.
The move has triggered outcries from the public, as Japan's pacifist constitution has banned the nation from maintaining land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, and Japan's defense white paper has specified that Japan should not own offensive weapons such as intercontinental ballistic missile or "attack aircraft carriers."
Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera denied that any "specific efforts" have been made toward the media report but said the ministry is exploring defense abilities from various perspectives.
Maeda said that Japan's Hyuga-class and Izumo-class destroyers can carry helicopters and are often categorized as "aircraft-carrier like" warships by analysts, and that thinking of introducing F-35B fighter jets and putting them on a modified destroyer manifest Japan's desire to own and use real aircraft carriers.
As for some defense officials claiming that the modified destroyer should not be categorized as "attack aircraft carrier" as long as it is used for pure self-defense, Maeda said that such a saying was not convincing at all as the decision makers could change the use of the aircraft carrier whenever they like once they have such a carrier.
"Turning the destroyer Izumo to an aircraft carrier is in total violation of Japan's defense-only policy and I'm firmly against such a move," said Maeda.
Maeda also said that Japan's defense policies had undergone some significant changes under the Abe administration, especially after the enactment of the new security laws in 2015 that largely expanded the activities of Japan's Self-Defense Forces and marked a significant turn from the defense-only posture.
"People should be alarmed that Japan's defense-only policy is in danger of being completely abandoned under the Abe administration," he said.