For the first time since they relaxed a self-imposed ban on arms exports, domestic firms are taking part in the production of the F-35 fighter jet, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun. Japanese firms will make 40% of parts that will be used in the construction of the stealth jets that will replace the current old fighter fleet.
The old fleet was developed by the United States, Great Britain and seven other countries, but was not participated in by any Japanese firms because of a 1967 decision by the government to have a tight control over foreign weapons sales, later on resulting in an almost full ban on sales of weapons and related technology. This policy was developed after World War II when the United States imposed strict pacifism on Japan, which later on was fully embraced by most of the Japanese citizens.
There were a few instances when exceptions were made for projects to develop the missile defence system. These were developed with Japan’s only military ally, which of course was the United States.
Experts had long questioned this policy because it had a large effect on the country’s budget, since they had to pay premium price for military tools and technology that were developed in other countries. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his cabinet are expected to make their official decision by Friday.
[ via AsiaOne ]