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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 February 13 - 19  > Japan still intends to buy 105 F35s with its 966 design flaws
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2019 February 13 - 19 [POLITICS]

Japan still intends to buy 105 F35s with its 966 design flaws

February 16, 2019
The Abe government still intends to make an additional purchase of as many as 105 F-35 stealth fighters from the U.S., even with its serious design flaws.

On February 15 at a Lower House Budget Committee meeting, a U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) report which shows 966 still-unresolved flaws (as of January 2018) in the F-35 became a focus of attention.

Defense Minister Iwaya Takeshi, in reply to a question asked by Japanese Communist Party representative Miyamoto Toru, said that Japan "does not have the list" of the F-35 flaws.

The Abe government is considering buying F-35Bs as a possible state-of-the-art fighter. Miyamoto, by citing the GAO report which points to inadequate tire durability for the aircraft, asked how much the F-35B maintenance cost would be.

DM Iwaya answered, "Lockheed Martin is now working on the development of new tires," and that Japan "is not aware of" either the unit tire price or the projected maintenance cost.

Miyamoto furthermore revealed that Japan in 2017 ranked third in the world in the purchase of U.S.-made weapons under the U.S. administration's Foreign Military Sales (FMS). Japan's ranking in 2010 was thirteenth.

Japan's military arms purchases amounted to 484.25 million dollars in 2010 and sharply increased to about 3.84 billion dollars in 2017. The top five countries that purchased weapons from the U.S. in 2017 were Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Israel, and Iraq.

Miyamoto said, "These are all, except Japan, countries which are conducting military operations."

Past related articles:
> Abe gov't sells national sovereignty piece by piece [January 3, 2019]
> JCP Koike comments on Abe government’s new defense program [December 19, 2018]
> Abe gov’t to allow SDF to possess aircraft carrier in violation of the Constitution [December 12, 2018]

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