While the government is boosting defense spending to “drastically strengthen” Japan’s defense capabilities, the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Kure District Headquarters in Hiroshima Prefecture is also expanding its activities as it marks the 70th anniversary of its founding, on July 1.

Based in the city of Kure, which developed together with the former Japanese Imperial Navy, the unit has expanded its activities since the end of World War II not only in national defense, but also in disaster relief operations and overseas missions.

One of the current developments is a major upgrade of the MSDF’s Kaga destroyer, which has the Kure Naval Base as its home port. The modifications are intended to turn the ship into a de facto aircraft carrier to operate F-35B stealth fighter jets, which can take off on a short runway and land vertically.