TOKYO --- Japan has unveiled on Wednesday a new submarine, named Taigei, that the country's Maritime Self-Defence Force (MSDF) will include in their fleet in March of 2022, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported.
The 3,000-ton warship will become the 22nd submarine in Japan's military fleet. It was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and cost around 76 billion yen ($720 million), according to the report.
The ceremony of Taigei's launch into the water was held at a shipyard in the western Japanese prefecture of Hyogo. Some 150 people, including Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi and MSDF Chief of Staff Hiroshi Yamamura attended it, according to the report.
The new Japanese submarine is 84 meters (275 feet) long and 9.1 meters (30 feet) wide. It can accommodate up to a 70-member crew.
Japan is expanding its fleet of submarines as part of the 2010 national security program. The MSDF currently operates nine 2,750-ton Oyashio-class submarines and 11 — to become 12 next year — 2,950-ton Soryu-class warships. The submarine which was launched today will become the first in Japan's fleet of the Taigei-class category.
The report has linked the expansion of the fleet specifically to the security threats associated with China, which was also mentioned in Japan's 2018 White Book on defence. Tokyo is convinced that Beijing has embarked upon a large-scale strengthening of its military capacity in the East China Sea and the South China Sea and plans to expand the area of its air and maritime military operations in the region. China slammed the statements as unfounded and irresponsible.