Shūkan Gendai: Japan refuses to cooperate with US to develop new fighter jet

In an “unprecedented” decision, Japan has decided not to cooperate with the US in the development of a new fighter jet because of the US Lockheed Martin’s unwillingness to provide advanced technologies, Shūkan Gendai wrote.

The Japanese Defense Ministry chose Great Britain and Italy as project partners, and taking into account the fact that Japanese fighters have always been produced in the US or jointly developed with them, an extremely unusual situation has arisen, the newspaper notes.

For example, the F-2 fighter aircraft in service with the Japanese Air Force, designed in the 1980s, was originally supposed to be created by their own forces, but due to pressure from the U.S. government, it was decided to develop it in conjunction with the U.S. on the basis of the F-16.

A source in the country’s defence ministry told Shūkan Gendai that Lockheed Martin, the US corporation, was unwilling to share advanced technology to build the new Japanese fighter. The British company BAE Systems, on the other hand, promised “full transparency”, with the result that the decision to cooperate with London and reject Washington was taken before the end of the year.

“Weighing the cold attitude of the US and the benevolent British approach, the Japanese defence establishment has leaned towards a partnership with the UK and Italy,” the article said. As a result, Tokyo faces “new challenges,” now related to cooperation with Britain, and the prospects for the project remain unclear, the paper points out.

This, according to Shūkan Gendai, is because London, “known for its triple diplomacy”, insists on a 60-40 or 50-50 development ratio, which is an “unprofitable ratio”, so Japan “should behave carefully” with a new partner that is “trying to push its selfish interests”.

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