---------- Forwarded message ----------
TOKYO (Reuters) - An armada of carriers, cruiser, destroyers and submarines gathered off Japan's coast on Sunday in a display of naval power that showcased Tokyo's latest warships and signaled wider engagement by the U.S. Navy in the western Pacific.
The Fleet Review in seas near Tokyo was the first major display of Japanese military hardware since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won lawmaker approval for legislation that for the first time since World War Two will allow Japanese soldiers to defend their foreign allies.
Abe is pursuing a doctrine of collective self defense with allies meant to give his nation a bigger role in regional security in order to counterbalance the military power of an increasingly assertive China.
Neighboring China, which has strained ties with several Southeast Asian countries over territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea, has said it is wary of Japan's changing defense posture.
Abe in an address after the maritime show told sailors to gird themselves for future missions and "to continue to guard the nation's peace."
Joining the Japanese navy were vessels from India, South Korea, Australia, France and the United States, including the Japan-based aircraft carrier, the 333 meter (1092.52 ft) long USS Ronald Reagan. Altogether 50 vessels and 61 aircraft participated in the display, which is held every three years.
The centerpiece of Japan's naval line up was the Izumo helicopter carrier, Japan's biggest warship since World War Two. The 248 meter long (813 feet) flat top, which was commissioned in May, is a highly visible example of how Japan is expanding its military capability to operate overseas.
sent from samsung galaxy note3 neo, so please excuse brevity