Tokyo, Oct 14 (efe-epa).- Japan presented Wednesday the most recent asset of its submarine fleet, a 3,000-ton submersible called Taigei expected to enter service in March 2022, at a time of maritime strength of China in the region.
The ship was built by the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries company and presented at its Kobe shipyard (west), in an event attended by, among others, the Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and the Chief of Staff of the army, Hiroshi Yamamura, Kyodo news agency reported.
The new Japanese military asset is part of the government’s strategy to increase its maritime security as a result of the increase in recent years in incursions by the neighboring power, to which it reported incursions into its waters.
The Taigei, which means “big whale” in Japanese, measures 84 meters long, 9.1 meters wide, and cost about 76 billion yen ($720 million.)
The new submersible, with a capacity for 70 crew members and equipped with lithium-ion batteries so that it can be submerged longer than previous models, will constitute the 22nd ship in the submarine fleet of the Japanese maritime force.
Japan currently operates nine Oyashio-class submarines (2,750 tons) and eleven Soryu-class submersibles (2,950 tons), to which it plans to add another Soryu unit in 2021.
Tokyo said in the 2010 national defense program guidelines it wanted to raise the number of submarines in its fleet from 16 to 22 in the face of increased activities by Beijing in nearby waters, especially around the Senkaku Islands, a remote archipelago administered by Japan and claimed by China and Taiwan.
On Tuesday, the Japanese government denounced an incursion of several Chinese patrol boats during the weekend that remained more than 57 and a half hours in its waters, in which it is the longest presence since there are records. EFE-EPA