Japan Defense Ministry says video of apparent SDF destroyer likely authentic

Japan's Defense Ministry has confirmed that a video of an apparent Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer that seems to have been taken by an unauthorized drone is likely real.

The video was posted on a Chinese video-sharing website in March. It appears to show the destroyer Izumo docked at the MSDF base in Yokosuka City, south of Tokyo.

The ministry said on Thursday that the video was likely authentic. It said its analysts had examined the shape of the vessel and the number on its deck, as well as the surrounding area, including vegetation.

Unauthorized flights of unmanned aerial vehicles near and over SDF bases are banned by law.

The ministry refused to clarify whether the suspected drone flight had been detected. It cited concerns that revealing such information could compromise the SDF's security capabilities.

The ministry pledged to do everything it can to enhance its security capabilities, including the early introduction of more advanced equipment that can detect drones.

Takushoku University Professor Sato Heigo is well-versed in drone operations and other matters. He says it is shocking that a drone could intrude into a vital SDF facility near a US military base and take video of the destroyer.

Sato says the ministry needs to take the incident very seriously, as it means drones fitted with bombs or other weapons could launch attacks.

The video was later uploaded to X, previously known as Twitter. A video of another vessel was posted to the same account on Wednesday.

The new video shows a bird's-eye view of a large ship with its bridge bearing the number 76. The identification number is that of the US Navy's nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.

The video suggests maintenance work is underway, as people are seen moving about the deck. There also appear to be green nets covering the edge of a square in the center of the deck and parts of the bridge.