Send Russia's LHDs to Japan?

The continuing conflict in Ukraine, to say nothing of the recent downing of the Malaysian airliner, have served to underline just how bad France's decision to sell two amphibious warships to Russia really is.

A story in the Diplomat sums up the situation and gives good background on the vessels:
One of France’s most important but least known naval platforms is the 21,300 ton Mistral-class amphibious assault ship (LHD).  These helicopter carriers have a 69,000 square foot flat top deck with six helicopter landing spots.  Their massive hanger is large enough to hold 16 helicopters, which access the flight deck via heavy lift elevators.  The ships’ size allows them to operate with up to 30 embarked helicopters.  In addition, their vehicle hangers can accommodate 40 main battle tanks, and they provide quarters for up to 500 soldiers or marines.  The troops can be transported to shore by helicopter or by amphibious catamarans housed in the ships’ well dock.  Amphibious operations are controlled from a nearly-10,000 square foot command center fit for 150 officers and staff.  The ships carry a medical facility equivalent to a hospital for a 25,000 inhabitant city with a complex surgery center.


The writer suggests that the U.S. buy the ships, but a far better customer would be Japan. Given local conflicts over disputed islands, North Korea's continued belligerence and China's growth as a regional military power, the carriers would be a good addition to the naval defense force.

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