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Japan sets sights on carrier-based fighter jets

Retrofitting vessels for the F-35B would raise constitutional issues

The F-35B stealth aircraft requires less than 200 meters of space for takeoff.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- The Japanese government is firming up plans to buy U.S. stealth fighters and modify its Izumo helicopter destroyer to accommodate them. But some argue that this step, aimed at deterring China and North Korea, fits poorly with Tokyo's defense-only policy.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party's Research Commission on National Security will outline a proposal Tuesday for changes to defense guidelines. These will include procuring short takeoff and vertical landing aircraft -- referring to F-35B stealth planes -- and turning the Izumo helicopter destroyer into a base for other air power, including fighter jets.

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