Japan draft defense plan seeks aircraft carrier for US jets

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Japan draft defense plan seeks aircraft carrier for US jetsTOKYO: Japan is seeking to possess its first aircraft carrier allowing for the deployment of U.S.-made stealth fighters as it seeks to bolster its arms capability under a new 10-year defense plan.

A draft outline of Japan's new defense plan, presented by the government Tuesday, proposes refitting an existing helicopter carrier into one that can deploy U.S.-made F-35 stealth fighters capable of short take-offs and vertical landings.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scrapping the current program only after five years in use, citing rapid changes in the security environment requiring higher deterrence to cope with threats from North Korea and China.

Critics say possession of an aircraft carrier would give Japan a strike capability in violation to the country's pacifist constitution.