1. I honestly don’t think Japan’s goal is to match the Chinese in number of carriers. I think their goal is to have a superior air wing with tanking and AWACS for support. To effectively fight naval air battles, the total number of carriers needed by JMSDF is 3 (for 24 hour operations, with 2 carriers on the 1st 12 hour shift and the 3rd for the next 12 hours). In this regard, we should look at the 3 Ōsumi class replacements in 2030 to 2035....talk in Japanese media and forums on the next Carrier batch after Izumo and Kaga. There's some graphics rendering of carrier size of QE2 derived... However one thing that in my opinion something that has probable, is the scenario that it can happen if China move toward 4 or more carriers force. The talk on using namesake of Shokaku and Zuikaku is also come forward as those two are the best IJN carriers in WW2.
2. In the interim, the JMSDF will operate F-35Bs off from the two 27,000 ton JDS Izumo and JDS Kaga, that each carry 12 to 14 fighters (for a total of 24 to 28 for their fleet air defence).
3. With the remaining 14 of the F-35Bs to be land based, as they lack a carrier, until the third is built (in the 2030s). And I am willing to bet the 3rd carrier will be larger than 27,000 tons.
4. I don’t look at the number of carriers that will China build to guess JMSDF carrier fleet size. I look at the number of F-35Bs the Japanese have ordered.
5. The Koreans are going to get 2 carriers.China's move and behavior toward their neighbors whether in SCS or in Japan Sea already open the neighborhood counters on carriers development.
Japan with both Izumo's, practically behaving like UK's Invincible class+, and ROK already shown their plan on similar move.
6. I am not in favour of using the JMMS as anything more than helicopter carriers; as Singapore needs to get much better at ASW.Singapore already shown ST LPH concept, and even Indonesia's PAL already shown it's LPH concept. Most likely Singapore LPH's will come much sooner I believe...
(a) I would prefer for the RSN and the RSAF to have a stronger ASW focus and for Singapore’s F-35Bs to be land based. To be more capable in ASW, the Seahawk fleet and Naval Rotary UAV fleet will need to grow. The Singapore Navy in the 2030s will need 12 to 14 naval helicopters (up from the current 8).
(b) I don’t like the idea that losing 1 ship will also mean the loss of a squadron of fighters. I don’t like to concentrate risk. At most a flight of two F-35Bs will use the JMMS as divert landing point, if all our airbases are under attack.
7. The real future threat to JMSDF is not Chinese carriers. It’s the PLA(N)’s rapidly modernising submarine force by 2035.Back to Japan MSDF, unlike French and UK, Japan already have enough escorts to make 4 CAG possible. Thus I do believe they are now waiting on how China's will progress with carrier development. Instead of thinking on those USN 10-11 CAG (plus 6-8 LPH), China also creating 2-4 Japan's CAG and 1-2 ROK's CAG.