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Japan's new Hakugei submarine packs a stealthy underwater burst

Lithium-ion battery extends deep-sea operations to better compete with China

Japan's newest submarine Hakugei is delivered to the Ministry of Defense by Kawasaki Heavy Industries at a ceremony in Kobe on March 20.   © Kawasaki Heavy Industries

TOKYO -- Japan is quietly upgrading its submarine capabilities, adding some of the stealthiest boats in the world to its fleet to maintain a competitive edge over China.

On Monday, Japan's Ministry of Defense received its newest submarine, the Hakugei, from Kawasaki Heavy Industries. It is the second ship of the new Taigei-class diesel-electric submarines and is equipped with lithium-ion batteries that enable longer underwater operations.

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