Japan to buy stealth aircraft from the US
According to analysts, this move will lead to an imbalance in the APR
/NOVOSTIVL/ Japan’s decision to buy 105 F-35 Lightning jet fighters from the United States may further fuel the arms race in Asia, analysts have warned. This article appeared in the South China Mornig Post.
The deal, first announced in December, was confirmed on Monday during US President Donald Trump’s four-day state visit to Japan.
Japan "has just announced its intent to purchase 105 brand new F-35 stealth aircraft. Stealth, because, the fact is you can’t see them", Trump said at Japan’s Akasaka Palace. "This purchase would give Japan the largest F-35 fleet of any US ally".
The F-35 deal is likely to help Japan reassert its role as a leading security player, but also present a new challenge to China’s People’s Liberation Army, which has extended its clout in the Indo-Pacific region in recent years.
Washington and Tokyo have long been wary of Beijing’s military expansion, with Japan announcing a new foreign policy strategy of a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" three years ago to further promote the "rule of law, freedom of navigation and free trade".
So far about a dozen US allies have placed orders for the F-35. The Australian government has budgeted US$17 billion for 72 of the jets and South Korea has ordered 40 F-35As. Lockheed Martin, which makes the F-35, also hopes Seoul will buy another 20 of the fighters.