Beijing: After adopting an aggressive defence strategy over the last few years, Japan has increased movements to purchase 100 F-25 Stealth fighter jets from the United States. As per information, Japan will be entering into an agreement worth USD 9 billion for this purpose. Japan has already decided to buy 42 F-35 fighter jets from the United States. A Japanese daily claimed that this purchase of 100 F-35 fighter jets by Japan would prove to be a deterrent for the increasing Chinese military influence in East Asia.
Defence-related policy announcement is expected to be made in the Japanese parliament in the near future. In the new policy, the Abe government has decided to sign deals worth billions of dollars with the United States, for the supply of defence equipment. While talking to a local daily, an official connected with the Japanese defence department informed that Japan would be purchasing the most advanced F-35s from the United States. Japan is planning to buy at least 100 F-35 fighter jets from the United States and an announcement to that effect will be made in December. These F-35 stealth jets will replace the old F-15 fighter jets in the Japanese air force.
Japan has already placed an order for 42 F-35s with Lockheed Martin company in the United States. These fighter jets are known as the advanced aircraft capable of vertical take-off. The new fighters demanded by Japan from the United States are F-35B that are capable of a short take-off, therefore capable of flying from a short airstrip. These F-35 jets take-off in a short time, attain the stealth speed and are ready for an attack. Thus, these aircrafts are claimed to be suitable for the Japanese air force.
It is claimed that both these variants of the F-35 can be deployed on the Izumo class helicopter carrier in the Japanese navy. There are three Izumo class warships capable of carrying only helicopters in the Japanese Navy. One of these warships participated in war exercises with the United States, in the South China Sea. Along with the purchase of F-35s, Japan is claimed to be asking for technological assistance from the United States for upgrading these helicopter carrier warships.
The Japanese defence ministry has not reacted to the report regarding the purchase of F-35 fighter jets from the United States. But the defence ministry clarified that the Abe government is seriously thinking on the matters related to national security. Japanese Prime Minister is claimed to have discussed defence related deals worth billions of dollars with US President Donald Trump, in September. The US President had welcomed the Japanese decision.
After the second world war, the United States and allies had imposed certain restrictions on Japan. As per these restrictions, Japan could have only a defensive security policy and Japan could spend just one percent of the country’s gross product as defence expenditure. Although Japan followed this defensive policy for the last eight decades, Japan is one of the top ten spenders on defence, in the world.
Meanwhile, China is alleging that Izumo class warships are aircraft carriers. China has alleged even in the past that Japan had violated the restrictions imposed by the international community, by manufacturing the Izumo class warships. The United States, European countries and Japan had dismissed these allegations. Therefore, a Chinese reaction is expected on the Japanese purchase of F-35s and modernisation of the Izumo class warship.