Shigeru Iwasaki, chief of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces‘ Joint Staff, said that the Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighters that Japan purchased from the United States are the best choices for Japan’s future national security. This statement comes after reports that some nations are reconsidering their purchase of the F-35 jets.
The Netherlands is reportedly cutting back on its orders on the jets due to cost overruns, delays in the program and budget cuts among European nations. But the US fears that this might cause a “death spiral” that will lead to increase in the prices of remaining orders which will then lead to more cancellations. But Japan remains steadfast in its purchase of 42 F-35s, which is a big boost for the Pentagon’s biggest arms program. The first four planes are scheduled to be delivered by March 2017.
Iwasaki said that North Korea‘s advancements in arms technology after its nuclear and missile tests is worrying, but he is also confident that Japan’s missile defense system can provide the country ample protection. The Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors can shoot down a ballistic missile outside the earth’s atmosphere. Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptors can provide back-up protection as the missile returns to earth. But he still calls North Korea’s nuclear tests “unforgivable”. Their last one was conducted last February amidst international protests. They have also threatened U.S naval bases in Japan, which are in the range of its medium-range missiles.
With regards to Japan’s relationship with China, he urges Beijing to reopen the lines of communication between the two countries and to establish a hotline and other maritime communication channels to avoid misunderstandings and unintended military clashes on the waters near the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.
[ via Reuters ]