National / Politics

Trump to inspect Japanese helicopter carrier with Abe during state visit later this month

Kyodo

U.S. President Donald Trump will likely board the Kaga, an Izumo-class helicopter carrier docked at a Maritime Self-Defense Force base near Tokyo, when he makes a state visit to Japan in late May, bilateral sources said Wednesday.

Accompanied by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump is expected to meet with MSDF personnel at the Yokosuka base in Kanagawa Prefecture as the leaders aim to demonstrate the solid Japan-U.S. security alliance, according to the sources.

Japan has two Izumo-class carriers. They will be remodeled to accommodate F-35B stealth fighter jets that the SDF plans to purchase from the United States. The jets are capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings.

The envisaged inspection by Abe and Trump will “send a message to China,” which has increased its maritime assertiveness in Asia, a Japanese government source said.

Abe is set to host the U.S. president and first lady Melania Trump from May 25 to 28 as the first state guests since Emperor Naruhito acceded the throne on May 1.

Arrangements are being made for Trump to watch sumo at an upcoming tournament and visit the U.S. Navy’s base located next to the MSDF’s base in Yokosuka, the sources said.