By Matsuyama Naoki
Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo held a meeting with the top executives of 15 major domestic defense industry companies at the Ministry of Defense (MOD) on April 13. The meeting was convened out of a sense of crisis over the decline of the domestic defense industry amid the growing percentage of SDF defense equipment being made in the U.S. The MOD aims to bolster the domestic defense industry.
The presidents of 15 companies, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Fujitsu, and IHI, attended the gathering. At the beginning of the meeting, Kishi said, “The technological foundation of a nation’s defense industry is part of that nation’s defense capabilities. We would like to discuss how we can maintain and strengthen this foundation.”
According to the MOD, many company representatives brought up the issue of the unique conditions faced by the defense industry, saying, “It will be difficult for us to remain in the defense industry unless we can make a reasonable level of profit.” Some also mentioned that small and medium-sized subcontractors are pulling out of the industry.
Defense equipment is becoming more sophisticated, which means rising maintenance costs and unit prices, while the number of new types of equipment is decreasing. Moreover, a growing number of domestic companies are pulling out of the defense industry partly because of the increase in foreign military sales (FMS) during the Abe administration.