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Japan to convert helicopter carrier Izumo into aircraft carrier

Plan to be included in new defense program, raising constitutional questions

A helicopter lands on the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force helicopter carrier Izumo: The government's latest defense plan calls for the vessel to be converted to carry F-35 jets.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan plans to convert the Maritime Self-Defense Force's helicopter carrier Izumo into an aircraft carrier under a new basic defense program to be adopted later this month.

The plan was revealed in an outline of the program presented by the government at a national security meeting at the prime minister's office on Tuesday. The outline states that the Izumo will be converted into an aircraft carrier, enabling Japan to deploy the U.S.-built, short-takeoff and vertical-landing F-35 fighters on the vessel.

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