Japan to build own early-warning planes
The report by Yomiuri Shimbun said that the defense ministry has asked the finance ministry for an initial 80 million yen ($642,000) for the next fiscal year to build a mock aircraft.
The report added that Japanese military planners aimed to replace Tokyo’s US-made E-2C Hawkeye planes and complete the development program for planes with advanced surveillance radars by the mid 2020s.
The development came after Japan lifted a self-imposed ban on weapons exports.
Tokyo says that in the last fiscal year alone, it scrambled fighter jets over 800 times to shadow intruding Chinese and Russian aircraft.
China and Japan have long been at odds over contested islands known as Diaoyus in China and as Senkakus in Japan.
China also declared an “air defense identification zone” with military over-flights over a stretch of East China Sea covering the islands in November 2013, increasing fears of military clashes between the two sides.
Back in July, in a move aimed at easing tensions between the two countries, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tokyo and Beijing were “inextricable linked” to each other. ■