A Military by Any Other Name

KAZUHIRONOGI-AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Japan flexes its muscles in exercises featuring nearly 50 warships

They're called the Self-Defense Forces, but the moniker can seem deceptively passive when you're standing next to the big guns of the 5,200-ton Japanese destroyer Kurama, watching sea-to-sea missiles roar off the decks of a pair of passing cruisers. The nautical fireworks were part of an SDF exercise last October involving nearly 50 warships and 8,000 sailors in Sagami Bay, south of Tokyo. The maneuvers, held just a few weeks after North Korea tested a nuclear bomb, provided a forceful reminder that, despite the unassuming name, Japan possesses an advanced military—and knows how to use it.

Another reminder...

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