Japan is slated to dispatch one its largest warships, the Izumo-class helicopter carrier JS Kaga, to the South China Sea that will last for year, two officials with direct knowledge of the operation told Reuters.
“This is part Japan's efforts to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific," one of the officials said.
The aircraft carrier, which has the capability to operate several choppers simultaneously, will be accompanied by an escort ship and will make stops in several South-east Asian countries including Indonesia and at ports in India and Sri Lanka, the sources said.
The carrier could also conduct military drills with other ships stationed at the area, according to Reuters.
The 248-meter long Kaga and 27,000-ton heavy JS Kaga was commissioned in March 2017. Along with its sister ship Izumo, the Kaga is one of the biggest surface warships operated by Japanese naval forces since the end of World War II.