This vessel was one of 12 Akizuki-class destroyers, which were constructed between 1939 and 1944. Only four of these vessels survived World War II, being confiscated as war prizes by the allied powers of Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States. After their capture, this class of destroyer actually continued to serve in the naval forces of China, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, indicating its incredible design.
The IJN Hanazuki DD-934 was one of the last of this class of vessels to be produced, seeing only light usage in Japan’s home waters. In October 1945, the Hanazuki was turned over to military authorities at the Kure Naval Base near Hiroshima. Before being scuttled near the Goto Islands in February 1948, the ship was held by the U.S. Navy for two years.
Widely considered the most successful destroyer in Japan’s Imperial fleet, these vessels were primarily designed to act as anti-aircraft escorts for Japan’s carrier force. Although originally designed not to include torpedoes, these ships were later given torpedo mounts to give them greater offensive capabilities.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, especially during World War II, naval destroyers also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.