It’s not the usual kind of fanfare you would associate with the launching of a nation’s cutting edge new submarine, but this is Japan – and they do things a little bit differently here. Amid balloons, party banners, the odd “rising sun” war flag here and there, and confetti (lots of confetti, there has to be confetti), the Japan Marine Self Defense Force (MSDF) launched its newest state-of-the-art toy – the submarine Kokuryu, which literally means “Black Dragon”.
The submarine Kukoryu was made by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and is said to be made with leading edge technology, costing Japanese taxpayers a hefty 53.4 billion yen (around US$540 million). But not only was the submarine itself expensive, it seems that the MSDF spared no cost for the launch ceremony, having cool party stuff that would be the envy of any 7-year-old boy. The launch committee had put out streamers, lots of balloons, and confetti to decorate the ceremony venue – making the launch ceremony a cross between a war rally and a really fun kiddie party.
The submarine is not yet fully fitted out internally, sources say, and it will sit in the dock until the internal fittings have been finished. But it is a significant event that Japan is putting out a new high-tech submarine, complete with “rising sun” war flags that are sure to attract the ire of neighbors China and South Korea, especially since South Korea is not too happy with Japan right now and Korean citizens actually think that Japan may still be a military threat to them in this day and age. Be that as it may, we learn one valuable lesson here – that if you want to throw your kid a party, you know whom to get in touch with. Those guys at the MSDF really know how to throw a fun children’s party, eh?