Japan Triples Its F-35 Order
Japan has decided to buy a lot more F-35 stealth fighters. Officials from Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner Komeito agreed in a Dec. 5, 2018 meeting to acquire 99 Lockheed Martin F-35s to replace an equal number of Boeing F-15s that Japan acquired in... Read more
Japanese Navy Could Acquire Aircraft Carriers
The Japanese government announced on Nov. 27, 2018 that it plans to modify its two Izumo-class helicopter carriers to support F-35B Lightning II stealth fighters. The announcement follows years of speculation that began even before Izumo commissioned into service in 2015. “Since we are equipped with such vessels, it... Read more
A Tsunami Devastated Japan’s Souped-Up F-16s
In the 1980s, Japan phased in its first domestic jet fighter to enter operational service — the Mitsubishi F-1. Tokyo wanted to follow up with a more capable fourth-generation F-2 “support fighter.” It was an ambitious effort. And one that a tsunami nearly destroyed. The Reagan-era Pentagon was worried... Read more
‘Akira’ Is Afraid of Nukes
Looking up from a highway toward Tokyo on a clear, sunny day, a half globe of light appears. It grows larger and larger until it consumes the city. A blast like a nuclear explosion. Thirty-one years later, the city has rebuilt itself. Neo Tokyo is a bustling metropolis. The... Read more
Eating Too Much Rice Almost Sank the Japanese Navy
This story originally appeared on May 31, 2014. In August 1882 in Incheon Bay near Seoul, four Japanese warships were locked in a tense stand-off with two Chinese warships that had brought troops to quell a revolt on the Korean peninsula. On paper, the Japanese flotilla outnumbered the Chinese,... Read more
The Japanese Carrier ‘Taiho’ Blew Up Due to a Terrible Mistake
Six torpedoes from the U.S. Navy submarine USS Albacore headed toward the Japanese aircraft Taiho as she launched her planes on the morning of June 19, 1944 during the fighting on the Philippine Sea — the largest carrier battle in history and the last major Japanese carrier operation. “White... Read more
Russia Invaded Japanese Islands With U.S. Ships — After Japan Surrendered
Seventy years after World War II ended, Japan and Russia are still trying to sign a peace treaty. The persistent bone of contention? The Kuril Islands, seized by Soviet troops in a bloody amphibious landing after Japan announced it was ready to surrender. But how and why did the Soviets seize the Kurils... Read more
Japan Dreamed of Supercarrier-Size Battleships
In January 1936 Japan announced its intention to withdraw from the London Naval Treaty, accusing both the United States and the United Kingdom of negotiating in bad faith. The Japanese sought formal equality in naval construction limits, something that the Western powers would not give. In the wake of... Read more
The 1937 Battle of Shanghai Was Asia’s Stalingrad
Open Road Media sponsored this post on March 23, 2016. Today Shanghai is a hub of international trade and culture and one of the world’s great cities. But in 1937, it was a battlefield. Imperial Japanese troops fought the Chinese Nationalist army in the seaside metropolis in one of... Read more
The Canine Heroes of the Imperial Japanese Army
This story originally appeared on Feb. 6, 2014. In the corner of the Enmei Buddhist Temple grounds in the coastal city of Zushi in Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture, stands a stone cenotaph that reads “Monument to the Protection of Animals.” The inscription dates back to 1958, but before that time... Read more

James Simpson

Contributor

Japan-based writer covering Japanese security news and military history.

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