Shinzo Abe became the first sitting Japanese prime minister to visit a U.S. aircraft carrier when his helicopter landed onboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) on Sunday.
The visit follows passage of legislation that modifies Japan’s defense posture to allow the Japanese Self Defense Forces (JSDF) to come to the aid of an ally under fire — a significant departure from the country’s post-World War II pacifist constitution.
Japan’s controversial new brand of “proactive pacifism” is rooted into the expansion of Chinese military power and overseas ambitions and the unpredictability of North Korea.
“By highly hoisting the flag of ‘proactive pacifism,’ I’m determined to contribute more than ever to world peace and prosperity,” Abe said according to The Japan Times.
In addition to the legislative changes, Japan is also on a defense acquisition drive that will position the JSDF to better interact with the U.S. Navy emerging networked warfighting concept.
Abe’s tour followed shortly after an international feet review with ships from Japan, France, India, Australia, South Korea and the United States, according to Stars and Stripes.
While onboard, Abe was shown around the carrier by U.S. 3rd Fleet commander Vice Adm. Nora Tyson.
Prior to visit, Stars and Stripes reported an E-2C Hawkeye had caught fire but no one was injured.
“The cause of the fire aboard the aircraft, assigned to the VAW-115 Liberty Bells squadron, is under investigation,” reported Stars and Stripes.
“Damage assessments were continuing as of Sunday evening.”
Reagan arrived in Japan on Oct. 1 as part of U.S. 7th Fleet’s forward deployed carrier, replacing USS George Washington (CVN-73).