Amid the national debate over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s proactive security policy and newly enacted laws, a state-of-the-art minesweeper built for the Maritime Self-Defense Force was launched Tuesday in a ceremony in Yokohama.

The 690-ton Awaji is the first of three planned Awaji-class minesweepers, which have hulls made of reinforced plastic so they won’t set off mines with built-in metal-detecting sensors.

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