Politics | Feb 22

Japan's Defense Debate: Exporting the Next-Generation Fighter Jet

TOKYO, Feb 22 (News On Japan) - The first-ever discussion between the executives of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito has been held on whether to allow the export of defense equipment, including the "next-generation fighter jet" being developed by Japan, the United Kingdom, and Italy, to third countries.

The next-generation fighter jet is aimed to succeed the Air Self-Defense Force's F2 fighter in the mid-2030s.

In the initial discussion held on February 21st by the executives of the LDP and Komeito, the point of contention is whether to permit the export of the finished products of this next-generation fighter jet to third countries unrelated to its development.

Komeito Leader Natsuo Yamaguchi: "If we allow the export of the next-generation fighter jet to third countries without any limitations, it means we are distributing weapons with high killing capabilities all over the world. It could lead to allowing the export of all kinds of weapons."

Komeito insists on the necessity of "restraints" for direct exports to third countries, which are currently not permitted under the existing system, while the government and the LDP are taking a proactive stance.

A government official: "If we can't export to third countries, we won't be able to take the lead in development. This is a line we cannot cross."

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also stated: "I believe that taking a broad and smooth approach to international joint development and production, including the transfer (export) of finished products to third countries, is in our national interest."

The government and the LDP are considering a plan that would limit export destinations to countries that have signed agreements on defense equipment and exclude countries engaged in combat.

The rush to discuss is because discussions on the development framework among the three countries will intensify from next month.

Although the discussion on Wednesday aimed for a conclusion within this month, it remains to be seen whether an agreement will be reached.

Source: ANN

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