Japan is bolstering its submarine fleet strength, introducing some of the most advanced and undetectable vessels to its flotilla to stay ahead of China.

On Monday, Japan’s Ministry of Defense was presented with the Hakugei, the second vessel of the Taigei-class diesel-electric submarines, from Kawasaki Heavy Industries. This submarine is outfitted with lithium-ion batteries, allowing it to stay submerged for extended periods and run silently.

The history of Japan’s submarines is fascinating. During the Pacific War, Japanese submarines were responsible for sinking two US aircraft carriers and damaging several other ships. Japan started the war with 63 ocean-going submarines and grew its fleet to 111 during the war. According to the US Naval Institute, the Imperial Japanese Navy developed the submarine faster than any other country. By World War II’s beginning, Japan possessed one of the world’s most powerful submarine fleets. As part of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, five Type A midget submarines were sent to surround Oahu and sink ships. After the war, Japan continued to step up its submarine development.

The Japanese submarine force was integral to their strategy during World War II. They used their submarines to launch surprise attacks against Allied forces to gain an advantage in battle. The Japanese also used their submarines to transport supplies and personnel to distant locations without being detected by Allied forces. In addition, they employed their submarines as reconnaissance vessels to gather intelligence on enemy movements and activities.

The effectiveness of Japanese submarines during World War II was primarily due to their advanced technology and tactics. Their torpedoes were more effective than those used by Allied forces, allowing them to target ships more effectively from greater distances. Furthermore, Japanese submariners had arguably superior training to their Allied counterparts, which allowed them to operate more efficiently underwater and remain undetected for longer periods.

Despite having some advantages over Allied forces, Japanese submarines suffered significant losses during World War II due to technological limitations and strategic errors made by military commanders. For example, many Japanese submarines lacked radar systems, making it challenging to detect enemy vessels before they could be attacked or destroyed by Allied forces. Additionally, some commanders should have considered factors such as weather conditions when planning operations, resulting in costly mistakes that cost lives and resources.