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Trade war

Japan's silent submarines extend range with new batteries

Mitsubishi debuts homegrown tech as Trump pressures country to buy American

The Oryu, Japan's first submarine to run on lithium-ion batteries, launched in Kobe on Oct. 4. (Photo by Kenji Asada)
The Oryu, Japan's first submarine to run on lithium-ion batteries, launched in Kobe on Oct. 4. (Photo by Kenji Asada)

TOKYO -- Japan's first submarine powered by lithium-ion batteries was launched on Thursday, symbolizing domestic defense contractors' hopes that innovations can allow the industry to survive amid renewed pressure from Washington to procure more American military gear.

The 84-meter Oryu was lowered into the water at the Kobe shipyard of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the vessel's developer, after being christened with a bottle of sake. The submarine can reach speeds of roughly 20 knots and displaces 2,950 tons. It will be delivered to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force in March 2020.

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