Nikkei, Sankei, and Yomiuri took up a meeting held in Tokyo yesterday between Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) Director Hooper and Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) Director General Takeda concerning the prolonged delay in delivery of defense equipment that Japan has purchased under the U.S. foreign military sales (FMS) program. The two sides reportedly agreed that Washington-based ATLA officials and DSCA officials should communicate more often to share information on the status of deliveries. According to Sankei, the delivery deadlines for a total of 132 items of defense hardware worth 32.6 billion yen ($296 million) have not been met. Yomiuri said the number of ATLA officials based in the U.S. capital will be increased from four to ten in FY2020.
Nikkei added that Defense Minister Kono held talks with Hooper on Tuesday and underscored the importance of improving the administration of the FMS process. The Pentagon official reportedly responded that FMS enables Japan to introduce “the best equipment quickly in the most efficient manner.” The Defense Ministry is reportedly not pleased with some elements of the FMS mechanism because the United States sometimes refuses to quote prices for orders and prices have been raised after contracts were signed. The ministry is concerned that procurement under the FMS program will put pressure on the defense budget, as President Trump and other U.S. officials may push Japan to buy more American weapons systems.