TOKYO—The Japanese helicopter carriers Izumo and Kaga should be modified as soon as possible to operate Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightnings, the defense ministry said, emphasizing that the country has inadequate fighter coverage over the Pacific Ocean. The ministry’s budget request for the fiscal year beginning in April 2020 includes ¥3.1 billion ($29 million) for the partial refitting of Izumo, meaning that the work will continue into fiscal 2021 at least. There is no ...

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