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Japan's biggest warship was unveiled on Tuesday, raising grave concerns about the country's military buildup as observers said the vessel is actually an aircraft carrier, banned by Japan's pacifist constitution.
Tokyo's move coincided with Manila's latest efforts to upgrade its military, as the Philippine navy received a second former US coast guard ship. Manila received the first ship in 2011.
Analysts see the upgraded warships in Japan and the Philippines as efforts to gain an upper hand in maritime disputes with China, as well as a catalyst igniting an arms race that would escalate regional tensions.