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LDP working team approves draft national defense programs

  • December 14, 2018
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All national dailies wrote that the LDP’s working team approved the GOJ’s draft of the National Defense Program Guidelines and Mid-Term Defense Program on Thursday. Mainichi wrote that the GOJ plans to purchase 105 F-35 stealth fighters as successors to the ASDF’s retiring mainstay fighter F-15. Among the 105 aircraft, 42 will be F-35Bs, which are capable of executing short takeoffs and vertical landings. The paper speculated that the decision to procure such a large number of F-35s is intended to respond to intensified Chinese and Russian activities near Japan’s airspace and waters and to President Trump’s request for Japan to expand its procurement of U.S.-made defense equipment. Saying that Japan’s defense spending in the five-year period from fiscal 2019 through 2023 will likely increase to 27.47 trillion yen, 3 trillion yen more than the previous estimate, Nikkei argued that the planned purchase of expensive U.S.-made defense equipment, such as F-35s, is the reason for the rise in spending.


Yomiuri and Sankei wrote that the GOJ plans to develop its national defense program based on the idea of building “multidimensional” defense capabilities. Asahi wrote that the working team also agreed on a written confirmation concerning the refurbishment of the Izumo escort ship saying that although the vessel will function as a de facto “aircraft carrier,” it will not regularly carry fighter jets.

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