Japan to buy $23bn worth of F-35 fighter jets from U.S.
Topics: JAPAN F-35 U.S.
The approved package includes 63 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing aircraft and 42 F-35 short takeoff and landing variants as part of a December 2018 decision by Japan to increase its procurement of F-35s from 42 to 147.
Japan does not have a coast to the hotly-conflicted South China Sea, but views it as strategically important due to its role as a vital trading route.
If the sale goes through from congress, it will make Japan the biggest foreign customer of the Lockheed Martin-produced jet and the second largest operator after the U.S. at a time when the Asian nation has expressed an interest in joining the industrial base consortium as a full-fledged partner over a year ago.
Japan is one of five current U.S. Foreign Military Sales F-35 customers to date, including Israel, South Korea, Belgium and Poland. ■