By Staff Writer | April 1, 2009
Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force commissioned its largest ever helicopter-carrying destroyer. The 197-meters (646 feet), 13,950-tonne (13,729 ton) Hyuga will carry 11 helicopters and a crew of 340. It will also be the first vessel to have women officers and enlisted personnel onboard since the establishment of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces in 1954. The vessel will be stationed in Yokosuka port, near Tokyo. Under Japan’s pacifist constitution, the country renounces using force in international disputes, so the carrier is raising concerns in the region. However, the government insists the ship will not carry fighter aircraft and is expected to be used for defense and disaster relief.