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Japan's largest helicopter-carrying warship commissioned

3/18/2009 9:11 AM ET

Japan's largest helicopter-carrying warship was commissioned by Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) Wednesday.

The 197-meter long, 13,950-ton Hyuga, capable of stationing 11 helicopters on its deck, will be based at Yokosuka port, near the capital, Tokyo.

The destroyer with 340 crew on board will primarily be deployed on overseas missions such as disaster-relief, the defense ministry said.

Anticipating international concern over the launch of the mammoth destroyer, the Japanese government insisted the vessel would not carry fighter planes and that it was different from an aircraft carrier.

Japan's pacifist constitution, which forbids the country from using or threatening force in international disputes, however, allows the MSDF to maintain armed force for self-defense.

by RTT Staff Writer

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