[Ed. – Let’s not kid ourselves. JDS Izumo‘s forte is not surface escort operations. A JMSDF destroyer would be far better suited for the role of escorting a supply ship. This is a political move: letting Japan deploy her biggest, baddest warship — which is actually a power-projection platform — into the fight, without saying that that’s what is happening. The Japanese Abe government needs this, as a signal to its own people that it is doing what it’s paid for: asserting Japan’s interests. Giving the operation a silly purpose, for the media’s sake, is a figleaf to keep China and South Korea quiet. All that said: it’s the right thing to do. At the right point in time, the figleaf will fall off.]
Japan is sending its largest warship to protect a US vessel as it resupplies the strike group led by carrier Carl Vinson amid tensions with North Korea.
The 800ft helicopter carrier Izumo left its home port of Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, on Monday to escort the American vessel to the waters off Shikoku, around 400 miles away at the top end of Japan’s south island.
The supply vessel, which is not being named, is believed to be in the region to support the ‘armada’ sent by President Trump to warn Kim Jong-un off conducting a sixth nuclear test.