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The Kagerou-class destroyers (陽炎型駆逐艦) also called as Destroyer Type-A (甲型駆逐艦) from their plan name. In 1937, Japan withdrew from the London Naval Treaty and the Kagerōs were designed free of these restrictions, utilizing experience drawn from previous classes.

Preceded by the Asashio-class, this classically- Japanese design combined speed, range, firepower and stability in equal and eminently successful proportions, which by the time of their introduction they were among the most deadly destroyers afloat, primarily due to the excellent range and lethality of its 'Long Lance' torpedo. However the lack of radar equipment hindered their otherwise superb design and as with most pre-World War II ships, the Kagerou-class were also deficient in anti-submarine and anti-aircraft weaponry as designed. However this is remedied over the course of the war by adding more depth charge, AA weaponry and later radar equipment.

By the beginning of the Pacific War the Kagerou-class formed the backbone of the Empire's first-line destroyer strength, comprising the 4th, 15th, 16th, 17th and half of the 18th Destroyer Divisions.