Tokyo, Jan. 23 (Jiji Press)–Tokyo and Washington have agreed to strengthen checks on the implementation of contracts to sell U.S. defense equipment to Japan for upfront payments.
The agreement was reached Wednesday at a Tokyo meeting between Japan’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency and the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, held in response to a series of problems caused to Japanese procurements of defense equipment under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.
Participants agreed to hold regular meetings to confirm whether such contracts are fully implemented, purchased goods are delivered and overpaid money are returned.
The meeting was attended by Hirofumi Takeda, commissioner of the Japanese agency, and visiting Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, director of the U.S. agency.
The U.S .side accepted a Japanese proposal for regular meetings between Japanese liaison personnel in the United States and the U.S. agency to investigate what causes delivery delays. The United States also agreed to increase lower-level meetings as proposed by Tokyo.
According to the Japanese agency, there were 132 cases in which defense equipment worth 32.6 billion yen had not been delivered as of the end of fiscal 2018. Reimbursement had not been made in 263 cases totaling 49.3 billion yen.
The problems were pointed out last year by the Board of Audit of Japan, which requested the Japanese Defense Ministry urge the U.S. side to take improvement measures.
Defense equipment procurements under the FMS program stood at 43.2 billion yen on a contract basis in fiscal 2011 under the government led by the now-defunct Democratic Party of Japan.
The amount has surged under the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, also president of the Liberal Democratic Party, reaching 701.3 billion yen in fiscal 2019 through March this year.
“The government needs to ensure better accountability” over the issue, an official of the Japanese agency said.