In 1941, three passenger-cargo ships were requisitioned from their owners by the IJN, and converted to Armed Merchant Cruisers at the Tama Ship Yard. These were the AIKOKU, HOKOKU and GOKOKU MARUs. The HOKOKU MARU was lost in 1942, while the AIKOKU and GOKOKU MARUs were rerated as transports in 1943.
|Years Completed:||AIKOKU MARU: 1940|
HOKOKU MARU: 1940
GOKOKU MARU: 1941
|Dimensions:||Length 492', beam 66.5', draft 41'|
|Propulsion:||2 Mistsui B&W diesels, 2 shafts, 13,000 shp, 21 knots.|
|Armament:||8 x 5.5-inch (140-mm/50, 2 x 3-inch (76-mm) HA guns, 4 x 25-mm AA, 2 twin 13. 5-mm MG (2x2), four 21-inch (533-mm) torpedo tubes (2x2).|
|Aircraft:||2 Type 94 Kawanishi E7K2 “Alf” reconnaissance floatplanes carried atop the hatches of Nos. 4 and 5 holds aft.|